The purpose of requiring public bodies to post their agendas before meetings is to keep the public informed as to what will go on at those meetings. An informed electorate is one of the hallmarks of a democratic society.
At Thursday night's regularly scheduled meeting of the Diamond R-4 Board of Education, the board members discussed requiring students who want to participate in extracurricular activities to have to undergo drug testing.
That would seem to be an important issue to me and I would imagine it would be an important issue to parents and students no matter how they feel about the idea.
Drug testing is not one of the items listed on the board agenda at the school's "official" website, www.diamondwildcats.org The superintendent has made sure that only a barebones agenda, telling what officials are going to speak, but not what those officials are going to speak about is listed each month.
This is something the Diamond R-4 Board and many other school boards and city councils across the state do. The purpose of an agenda is to let the public know what is going to be discussed at a meeting. The purpose of the agendas as seen by these public officials is to do the bare minimum the law requires and not let the people know what is going on. After all, it's just the public. Why should the public be allowed to have a say when policies are set that affect them, their children, and their tax money.
Even that barebones agenda was not placed on the website until shortly before the meeting. As late as Wednesday morning (and I did not check it later in the day), the agenda on the website was for the Thursday, Sept. 9, board meeting.
The public deserves to know what topics the board is going to discuss, no matter how mundane they may be. That is what a representative democracy is all about.
That Matt Blunt is really something.
He should have taken up journalism instead of politics. Somehow, he has uncovered a massive scandal involving sexual abuse that is taking place in senior citizen homes and long-term care centers across Missouri. And Claire McCaskill has apparently been ignoring it.
I keep up on these things, too, and there has been no overwhelming scandal in this state of senior citizens being sexually abused in nursing homes. Matt Blunt's ads make it seem like there is an epidemic of perverts preying on our state's senior citizens...and all because of Claire McCaskill.
On the other hand, Claire McCaskill's crack group of watchdogs at the state auditor's office has not been keeping an eye on whether the Division of Aging, which takes care of senior citizens centers and long-term care centers, has been following the law.
State law requires that people who cannot show financial responsibility are not to be allowed too operate nursing homes. Former Carthage Press reporter Cait Purinton, in her award-winning series on the owners of the Lamar Guest House in 1998 showed that owner Robert DuPont had declared bankruptcy, had failed to pay property taxes in Barton County, and had a lien placed on him by the federal government for failure to pay taxes. Of course, all of those things happened well before Claire McCaskill became state auditor.
But two weeks ago, Dupont again declared bankruptcy and it appears his River of Life Ministries is running the Carthage Guest House and a home in Joplin. Division of Aging records indicate that Dupont is considered the owner of those establishments.
That would seem to be enough to keep him from caring for people who are helpless to fend for themselves. But add to that, a long record of violations that have endangered lives at his establishments and it makes you wonder why the Division of Aging and the state auditor's office have not taken steps to curb these abuses and get this man out of the health care business.
Last, but not least, I should mention that the Division of Aging has continued to let Dupont operate these businesses even though he pleaded guilty two years ago in U. S. District Court to a felony charge of trying to defraud the U. S. Government, in connection with a scheme to bilk the Medicare system.
I'll provide more details sometime in the next few days.