Council members continue to push for open records
The city of Cumby discussed court fees and open records among other items of business at their regular Nov. 10 meeting.
After opening the meeting with an invocation at 6:30 p.m., the city opened itself for public comment.
Alderman-elect Sheryl Lackey, speaking from the citizen audience, stated she had received calls from concerned citizens regarding Cumby Police allegedly "speeding at approximately 80 miles plus per hour through a work zone with no lights or sirens" at 8:15 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 10, Lackey said.
"This person believes there were workers present," Lackey said. "They just wanted me to pass this along."
Mayor Doug Simmerman acknowledged Lackey's presentation but did not comment further.
Police chief Paul Robertson presented the police report. As no members of the fire department were present, Simmerman delivered both the fire department report and city maintenance report, which he usually gives.
City secretary Codi Reynolds asked if the water department has given the city a checklist of fire hydrants that need to be replaced, and water department employee David Ratcliffe stated the water department was “working on it.”
The council unanimously approved their previous meeting minutes.
Municipal Judge Lana Adams then delivered the monthly court report. Adams stated that the court took in fees of $56,000 in September, but “we only get to keep 52% to 55% of that because the state and collections keeps everything else,” and therefore total net gain to the city was $32,426. In October, the net gain from the court was approximately $27,000, Adams said.
Adams also discussed that court coordinator Quanah Wright departed to become a firefighter, and the court has hired a new coordinator. Adams specified the new coordinator has no relation with anyone else employed within the city.
Adams expressed her desire to “change some of our fines, because some of ours are a little light.” She stated “They [fines] could be a little more, so I think that needs to happen.”
Adams stated that she and Robertson believe that some outstanding accounts have accrued almost $3000 in fines.
“We don’t have to put them in jail. We can make a payment plan for them,” Adams noted.
Furthermore, Adams noted she would like to enact a vacation time accountability clause, such as is in place in her other place of employment, Commerce. The citizen audience expressed their agreement.
Council member Julie Morris then directed council attention to “some questions asked by the citizens. Do we have answers for these citizens?”
Lackey stated she had received her open records request.
“Does that mean you received the tickets?” Council member Betty McCarter asked. Lackey stated she had, and clarified she made an open records request regarding the city’s curfew ordinance.
“Jay [city attorney Jay Garrett], I’ve requested those records,” McCarter said. “I’ve talked to you and you told me I could have a copy of them. I never received them.
“As a city council member, you have a right to an investigation at city hall, and you don’t have to make an open records request,” Garrett replied.
McCarter again stated she never received the files she requested.
“Someone that’s not even a council member has [received them]?” McCarter asked. “I’ve been denied, even though he [Garrett] was told I could see them.”
“It’s now a public record, so now anyone could see what she [Lackey] has been provided,” Garrett noted. Lackey and McCarter agreed to share the information.
Citizen Angela Lee stated she “never got answers regarding the wreck that happened up on my property.”
Lee referred to an Aug. 21, 2020 alleged crash on Frisco Street. Lee previously told the council in September that she suffered “fence damage and tree damage,” and called the alleged crash “a hush deal.”
“I will get you an answer,” Simmerman told Lee in November.
Lackey stated she was unsure if her husband, Monty Lackey, received his open records requests.