Ossipee — December 16, 2008 — The county Web page still hasn’t blossomed into the useful tool of the information age officials have been promising for over a year. Officials trumpeted a new era of advances when Carroll County became the last in the state to announce it would launch a site.
But a working version set up by county staff did not appear until this fall after the commission had already scrapped a first page designed by a contractor at a taxpayer expense of $1,200. And while the new site is improving, it’s not drawing rave reviews.
According to the site, carrollcountynh.net, Scott Carr is still sheriff and Forrest Painter heads human services. Carr resigned in June. Painter, who runs the nursing home, dropped his human services duties some time ago.
Records and advance notice of commission meetings, which were supposed to have been primary services of the site, have not always been posted and some have mysteriously disappeared from online archives.
“I have complained every week that first the agenda is there, then it isn’t,” said citizen watchdog Maureen Spencer.
One set of meeting records that was once posted after commissioners met with heads of area youth agencies this fall was inexplicably removed, Spencer noted, adding, “Nothing is archived as it should be so you can’t go back and check facts.”
This week showed improvements, with records of commissioners’ meetings from Nov. 19, Nov. 5 and Oct. 29 appearing. The site also had skeletal notes from Oct. 22 that listed little more than who was there for “budget discussions.”
The budget is a sore subject with Spencer and others who have accused commissioners of slipping behind closed doors to draft budget proposals only to leave few written details of their decision-making. Spencer was troubled that the county handed a no-bid contract to build its first Web page to a former recording secretary who later resigned over lateness.
“As a taxpayer I am not happy that the county spent $1,200 for a Web site that never got off the ground,” she said. “The commissioners used the ‘We don’t have to send anything out to bid under $5,000’ excuse for not doing more research on the qualifications of the person they choose to do it.”
Officials said the current rebuilding of the Web site has been led by the human resources director, who was hired last year to begin formalizing employment policies and to use the Web to post job openings.
Ms. Spencer is correct. The new web site still needs a lot of work. It is a vast improvement over the non bid website for which two of the commissioners voted a year ago but it still has a ways to go.
Why wouldn’t the commissioners post the budget work sheets on the new web site? If the numbers were “still changing” as we were told, why were they using the budget sheets?
Getting information is why we have a web site. Lets make sure the Commissioners use it!!
OssipeeLake.org puts both the City and County sites to shame.
Stop hiring DPW guys to build your “official” sites.