In an effort to provide transparently in a quick and easy manner, Kaufman County Judge Hal Richard is requesting that County Clerk Laura Hughes work diligently with the County District Attorney’s office and the county IT Director to place a long list of publicly accessible documents online.
During the March 6, 2019 Commissioner’s Court meeting Assistant District Attorney Karen Badgley addressed the Commissioner’s Court regarding the need to make accsesible numerous county vendor contracts, inter-local agreements and public documents.
Explaining ADA Badgley said “So the Court Clerk does a very good job of making sure we have all the agenda’s, minutes and official documents from the county from like 1848 to 1852, and they’re all stored on laser fiche. What we see in our office, and I’ve talked to the county judge about this, there are two areas where we need more specific information.”
Badgley said “We really need a search area of any and all contracts that the County has. And we need a search function where we can identify them by name or by area wither it’s for a Precinct 3 contract, wither its IT, wither it’s for elevator maintenance and service contract.”
She said “And you also need a way to have these contracts tagged as to when they expire, when notice should be given to renew or for when they are going to expire and we need to get another vendor”
Detailing the filing system currently in place, ADA Badgley said “And we really just don’t have that in place. I think the County Judge maybe has a good list of the contracts in the filing cabinet. But we don’t have that searchable, and we don’t have it in a certain place where anybody, commissioners, judges or anyone from the public can go and see what contracts we have in place and when they expire.”
Explaining the need to upgrade the county clerks filing system, ADA Badgley said “The Commissioner’s Court usually issues its orders or sometimes an ordinance, and primarily the orders and ordinances are the way the Commissioner’s issue their rulings. And so we need a way to know what the most current rulings are. If an order or a resolution has been overruled in the past or superseded by an action, we need those documents tagged so that we know what the latest ruling, order or resolution is by the Commissioner’s Court. And really that should be searchable by the public.”
Addressing County Clerk Laura Hughes who was seated in the back of the court room, Judge Richards stated “We stated talking about this about three weeks to a month ago. And one of the things I understand clearly now is that this is pretty complicated thing to work through. The County Clerk manages all our records, so do you have anything to add to this discussion.”
Joining the conversation County Clerk Laura Hughes stated “I think that a lot of the information that she needs is not normally provided by the Clerk’s office. We record the documents we don’t break them down into this is an IT contract, this is a purchasing contract, this is a lease agreement contract, this is the expiration date, this is the renewal date. So I think that what they basically need is to be able to answer legal questions when they get calls. And we’ve meet with a vendor who is going to try and come up with different options that will give her that information that can be coded in when the document comes in.”
Written by: Denise Bell