County can be frugal and transparent

closed-doorAccording to statements made at a special meeting of Sedgwick County’s Board of Bids and Contracts on Friday, a sheriff’s official met privately with each of the county commissioners and got their consent to push through an emergency purchase of computers for the Sheriff’s Office – which sounds like a violation of the 2009 state law requiring such “interactive communications” to be open meetings. Assistant county counselor Mike Pepoon said the official was “just briefing” commissioners and “if that’s a violation, we do that all the time.” Chief financial officer Chris Chronis told the bid board that commissioners were told “the transaction will be brought to them on their next available agenda for retroactive approval.” Such meetings happen “all the time”? “Retroactive approval” of a $137,100 expenditure? Wanting to save $80,000 on the purchase was laudable, but fiscal responsibility shouldn’t come at the expense of transparent government.