Claremore Daily Progress

January 16, 2013

Secrecy masked as public welfare

Special meeting slated to discuss county’s emergency management inventory

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — The Rogers County Commissioners will be meeting at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday behind closed doors to discuss the county’s Emergency Management Inventory and expenditures.

Assistant District Attorney David Iski called the meeting, just days after the commissioners opted to temporarily contract emergency management services.
Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker said he initially questioned the reasoning behind the need for executive session. Thacker said the board would be evaluating the expenditures of Bob Anderson, the county’s former Emergency Management Director.
“The commissioners are charged with managing inventory, Thacker added.
“The public will be given the findings if there are any,” Thacker said.
The items that will be discussed do not meet the criteria for executive session, according to the Open Meetings Act. Rogers County Clerk Robin Anderson could not offer any explanation for the executive session.
“I don’t know why it is listed that way,”  Robin Anderson said. “That is a question for David Iski.”
Robin Anderson is responsible for the posting and reporting on all county commissioner proceedings.
Iski was contacted by the Claremore Daily Progress and issued the following response.
“The statute allows an executive session for ‘confidential communications between a public body and its attorney concerning a pending investigation, claim, or action if the public body, with the advice of its attorney, determines that disclosure will seriously impair the ability of the public body to process the claim or conduct a pending investigation, litigation, or proceeding in the public interest.’ Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 25, § 307 (B) (4). 
“Here we have a transition from a long time department head that has accumulated a significant number of items of equipment and vehicles with taxpayer funds and the preparation by the BOCC to fill the position,” Iski added. 
“Additionally, taxpayer funds have been spent in the purchase of fuel and other supplies for the Emergency Management Department. 
“The board wishes to account for all of these items and expenditures in preparation for the transition to a new Emergency Management Director. 
“At this point, this is a fact, finding action. Should there be concerns, the Board would need to decide what action, if any, would be taken in the public interest. Of, course any action would be voted on in a public session,” Iski wrote.
Bob Anderson explained that he has been working to return inventory to Rogers County. Due to the cooperative nature of the position, equipment has been placed throughout the county to insure it would be available during an emergency.
 Bob Anderson said, he has made multiple phone calls to both Human Resource Director Jenny Bentley and Kelly Deal, in an effort to return all the inventory that is currently being stored at area fire departments. Additionally, Bob Anderson reports that he is currently not involved in any pending legal action with the county.
Bob Anderson is not currently being investigated for any criminal activity, according to the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office. 
Iski is working with Robin Anderson to modify the agenda, but still plans to hold the discussions in executive session.