Editorial
7

Bagby To Pearson: Council Made Me Do It

UPDATE 9/7/2013: Someone evidently went down and paid for the two DVDs because the two council meetings in August have been uploaded to YouTube.com/TransparentLocalGov.

Since coming into office in April, Angela Pearson has been posting each city council meeting to YouTube. But that comes as no surprise, Pearson’s entire campaign was a call for transparency and accessibility. Having past council meetings available is a valuable resource for those who cannot attend the meeting as well as for those who do not have City Cable’s television service. According to Pearson, she would pick up the video two days after each meeting and then have it uploaded to YouTube.com.

But on Monday (Aug 26), Pearson posted on her Facebook page that she could no longer post videos of the City Council meetings because the City Manager, Doug Bagby, said he was going to start charging her $15 per video.

Pearson Facebook Post

This is crazy. The city spends hundreds of dollars each city council meeting to air it live on City Cable. What in the world could be the problem in having staff copy the file to a DVD so a council member could upload to YouTube?

Pearson Email From Bagby

Pearson also posted the actual email she received from Bagby. In the email Bagby claimed, “I have been asked by council to recover our cost just as we would if any citizen requested a copy.”

First of all, Pearson is not just “any citizen” but a duly-elected representative of the City of Poplar Bluff and Bagby’s co-boss.

I could not think of anything on the agenda or discussion during the previous public meeting which would give Bagby the right to say that he’d been “asked by council.” And it certainly couldn’t have been discussed in the closed session because that type of information or decision is forbidden from closed session by the Missouri Sunshine Laws.

To find out more, I sent a sunshine request to the clerk’s office which included the following two requests as they pertained to Bagby’s email:

agenda from the meeting where the decision was made since Mr. Bagby states he was “asked by Council” to charge for the videos.

vote of the council’s decision regarding charging Angela Pearson “as if any citizen” made the request.

I received a response from the Deputy City Clerk, Lori Phelps. She stated “We have nothing available for [those two] items”.

This is priceless: Bagby not only gets caught trumping up phantom council decisions, he does so within 5 days of being on KFVS-TV saying: I don’t make these decisions, [council] does.

Am I the only one that thinks he’s got egg on his face?

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Written by Brian Becker

After graduating from Mizzou with Computer and Electrical Engineering degrees in 1985, Brian Becker spent a decade singing Christian Rock and being a labeled artist with Benson Music Group of Nashville. In 1995, he and several investors started the area's first Internet Service called PBMO.net and by 2000 the company was serviing Internet access in over 50 communities throughout Southeast Missouri as SEMO.net. In July 2014, Becker again made a major pivot and became Publisher of the SEMO TIMES: a weekly print and daily online news and entertainment source for the region.

  • Roger Thornsby

    I have been ‘ask’ by the council? The guy can’t even pass English Grammar! Jeez the leadership in this ‘city’ sounds like a bunch of backward ass rednecks…

  • Stewart Nunn

    Sounds like Angela Pearson owes the city $105. I don’t think just because she is on the council she should get free copies of the meetings. If she is unable to attend those meetings and does not wish to pay $15, I would recommend reading the minutes. The minutes are available free online.

    • Brian Becker

      She gets them to upload to youtube.com/TransparentLocalGov so that people who don’t have City Cable and/or people who cannot make it to the meeting can view the meeting online.

    • Brian Becker

      Also, the six meetings that have been online (Apr-Jul) now have been viewed over 1100 times. Our community is making good use of the online videos.

    • Jeff

      Stewart did you miss the entire point of this. It was bagby that stated he had to start charging for the DVD of the meeting because the council asked him to. This was made up by bagby in the name of the council. The council never said to start charging. Just remember Stewart you may not have a problem with bagby right now but these Types of things would happen to you as well if you ever did. In situations like this being unbiased and reading the facts is quite educational as bagby’s character and method of operation.

  • Janis Traughber

    Why doesn’t someone make a motion that the meetings be uploaded as part of a community service by the city manager’s office? It would be more cost effective to do that than provide 1100 copies of the minutes not to mention the green effect if would have on the gas saved driving to pick up the minutes. This sounds like nothing more than a power trip and control issue. PB needs to move into the electronic era. This is something that should have been initiated by them a long time ago. Kuddos to Angela Pearson for being a public servant.

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