Apology to the Little Old Ladies of Wright County Minnesota
As you recall, over a series of several articles in the past few months, I attempted to get property tax and budget information from my County of residence, Wright County in the State of Minnesota. I was motivated to research and analyze this information due to Moody's downgrading all municipal bonds as a class and my own personal taxes doubling in the course of 5 years. And then it was revealed to me that many older persons in the county had written the county indicating that they were literally being taxed out of their homes.
I did not anticipate how difficult obtaining budget information would be nor how evil and cunning those persons elected to represent the best interests of WE THE PEOPLE of Wright County would be. Further, I found that apparently our elected State officials deliberately wrote all the public information laws to make it difficult and expensive for Citizens to get what is suppose to be freely available public information. (More on that later)
As you will recall, it took more than a month for the County to produce some of the information I requested and then in an almost unusable format. The information for 2005 was in an old lotus format and the information for 2006 to present was in "locked" Excel format files. And by locked, I meant it was not possible to automatically add the columns to do quick analysis. I also asked for a explanation of a variety of other expenditures, and was not provided that information. In the instance of the "Hay" group they refused to tell me what those folks did and how much they were paid.
I began asking why the lowest beginning wage was more than 13 dollars per hour for the lowest skilled employees and why all employees got 35 days paid time off after there first year. (Yes, that is 7 weeks of paid time off after one year on the job)
And then, instead of admitting I was pointing out that savings could be realized by reducing the overly generous base salaries and giving exhorbident vacation time after a year, they accuse me of wanting to close the Sheriff's Department. (My head starts hurting again while I write this from remembering the head games that these evil people play)
At some point, the Board of Commissioners would no longer let me speak at Weekly meetings. And then I was threatened with arrest if I showed up and insisted on speaking. When I recieved no assurance that I would not be arrested just to document the Board's refusal to allow me to speak, I sought a different avenue of recourse.
I contacted the State Auditors office who informed me that the legislature did not grant them any power of law to obtain nor review financial records of any lesser municipal entity in the state of Minnesota. They suggest I contact IPAD - Informational Policy Analysis Division. IPAD also informed me that they had no power under the law to force any state or municipal level of government to produce any records, including records which were specifically supposed to be a matter of public record. IPAD said they could provide me a legal opinion that the County of Wright should release the records I requested, but they could not force them to give me the records even though they were plainly public domain.
The long and the short of this is that our state and federal elected officials have given us a number of laws that appear intended to make our government more "open": and "transparent". But the reality is that the actual legislation is written to make it difficult for citizens to get information that our government does not want any of us to have.
In the end I was told that I would have to retain an attorney and sue the county with my own money to get the information that they acknowledged was public record. This would seem to be the appropriate time to invoke the following quote:
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
But, I am just going to do a logical end run around the financial and process barriers that the County (and apparently our state legislators) put in place to keep thier wrong doings from being made public.
By their duplicity and resistance in preventing me from having the information I requested, do you have any doubt that a massive financial coverup is underway in Wright County Minnesota. What kind of special stupid do they think we are.
And while all this was transpiring I gleaned this information from an article in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune - "Older Women are Struggling in this State"
"The average older woman in Minnesota falls short of economic adequacy -- a bare-bones budget -- by $7,587 every year. The new research provides many useful insights, such as the awareness that housing costs comprise the greatest financial challenge for an elder in good health."
Which brings me to the apology... Ladies and fellow Wright County Citizens,....
Please click here to read the rest of the Article: Examiner.com
The Cynical Patriot