In yet another move to study an issue that has caused some head-scratching in Pontiac, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners General Government Committee has reported out a measure that would grant Board Chairman Mike Gingell (R-Lake Orion) the authority to appoint an informal committee to study what information should be placed on the county’s website.
The full board still has to approve the resolution, a move that is expected at the board’s Wednesday, March 9 meeting.
At this point, one issue to be studied includes, but is not limited to, an online check register of transactions, an issue that has come up in recent months as board Democrats worked to get a slew of ethics and transparency proposals through during the last term but fell short, with many Republicans opposing the effort, some chalking the measures up to political grand-standing.
The idea of an all-encompassing online check register drew fire from some board members last year when questions were raised about the scope of information that would be posted online. For example, some commissioners wondered whether checks cut to paid confidential informants or undercover law enforcement officers would be placed on the Internet.
The new committee would consist of two Republicans and one Democrat, and Gingell would also have the authority to appoint “non-commissioner” members to study the online posting issue, as well, under the proposed resolution.
“If there is a way to do it without costing us a lot of money, I’m all for it,” said Commissioner John Scott (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield), who serves on the General Government Committee. “We have nothing to hide, and I want to be sure our money is being spent properly.”
“I’m hoping we find a way to do it without it costing the county a lot of money,” Scott said.
Commissioner Marcia Gershenson (D-West Bloomfield) said she “absolutely” anticipates that the measure will sail through the full board.
“I’m hoping that this will help any of the residents who want to know how we spend their tax dollars,” she said.
In recent weeks, Gingell has also appointed other ad hoc committees to investigate two issues — one on the possibility of revising or updating the county’s 20-year-old ethics policy, and another to study the feasibility of broadcasting or streaming county board meetings online.
Members of both the Republican and Democratic caucuses, including several from the lakes area, have signed on to the resolution asking Gingell to appoint a committee to study the online posting of county financial transactions. Scott said he expected the members of the committee to be appointed at the March 9 full board meeting.