Merriam Webster defines irony as “incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result.”

True irony is hard to find. Most situations that are claimed to be ironic are merely strange coincidences that the results are not influenced by the situation.

In Clay County irony can be found in the strange circumstances of Resolution 2016-311a. Good luck finding it on the Clay County website. If you search for passed resolutions it skips from 2016-310 to 2016-312. If you use the search bar and manually enter the number it says the document is not available.

Here’s where the irony kicks in. Resolution 2016-311a, subsection D, states, “ensure that ordinances and resolutions are searchable by subject or name on the County website.”

Now isn’t that ironic, don’t you think?

That might be where the irony ends but the rest of 2016-311a is still an enigma. The resolution, passed on Nov. 14, still appears in draft form like most other resolutions that do not pass. At the time of writing this column on Friday, March 31 it says the portal was last updated on February 25. The resolution Subsection A calls for an update at least every 30 days.

The resolution also calls for the portal to include fringe benefits like take home vehicles, county housing subsidy and provisions in subsection B. Multiple sources in the courthouse have told me that that stipulation isn’t being followed.

If we go to the next subsection it calls for contracts and agreements made by the county to be linked to the transparency portal. Currently the only item available on the portal is salary information from county employees.

On to Subsection E, we find a point of controversy from the March 20 work session. Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte wanted an update on placing audio or video of commission meetings on the county website. Subsection E of Resolution 2016-311a called for a report no later than March 10, something that has not been fulfilled. Nolte tried to attach a job responsibility when an IT job was created to handle Sunshine requests that that person should also be responsible for adding the meeting media to the website. That amendment ultimately failed by a 2-1 vote from Eastern Commissioner Luann Ridgeway, who led the charge against the amendment, and Western Commissioner Gene Owen. Owen and Ridgeway both voted yes on Resolution 2016-311a while Nolte simply stated present when his name was called for a vote.

Further, we go to subsection F, which calls for all Sunshine requests and the documents provided to be placed on the (transparency) portal or made available on the county website. If you are sensing a pattern of noncompliance here you would be accurate in your thinking.

Subsection G, I have no inside knowledge of compliance on. That section of the resolution calls for, by March 1, the County Counselor and all elected officeholders and commission staff should sit down and come up with an agreed upon method for paying invoices in compliance with state law.

Subsection H states, “No citizen shall be required by any commissioner to sign a legal release before being allowed to address the commission.” I don’t have a lot of information about this subsection, but I will say that Stacy Long asked why she needed to sign a release before the commission would talk to her when she came before the three person panel for the second time on Jan. 30 regarding Smithville Lake boat slips.

When we get to Subsection I, I believe we finally have some compliance. It deals with the procedure of amending ordinances, something that is set to be in action on Monday, April 3. Ridgeway’s ordinance change to create an administrative session is again on the agenda to be discussed after it was tabled at the March 20 meeting.


-Bryce Mereness

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