Nine years ago, when the county committed to a comprehensive update of its General Plan, the firm of Mintier Harnish was contracted to guide the county through the process and produce the final document. The total contract was $900,000. Mintier convened many meetings of citizens throughout the county, collecting, tabulating and making publically available what people said they wanted.

Three years ago, Mintier Harnish produced a draft General Plan. The planning director at the time unilaterally decided that no one should see that plan and tabled it. The Board of Supervisors agreed, and the current planning director has continued that policy.

A new contract was issued to Raney Planning and Manage-ment, and then subsequently to Augustine Planning Associates. No public meetings were held. Now the draft plan from that process has been released for review. Even as we focus on the plan before us, a huge unanswered question remains. Why are citizens, from the Board of Supervisors on down, denied access to a plan that we paid almost $1 million for, and for which hundreds of people provided input? How can a handful of county employees simply decide that no one can see what everyone paid for and many participated in? Who are our public officials serving? Apparently, not the public.

Penny Sarvis

Murphys

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