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Government open and closed makes for interesting week

Open government advocates have been rolling in Gwinnett this week.

First, the good news:

The county commission will soon begin live Webcasts of its meetings after a vote this week.

District 1 Commissioner Lorraine Green pushed the motion through this week after only about a week of campaigning.

She said the idea only made sense when open government was part of the platform that got herself and two other new members to the commission elected.

"People have busy lives today. If the people can't come to us, we need to go to them. The staff and technology are already in place. It's not a budgetary issue. It's simply a matter of cleaning up an archaic policy," Green said when introducing the idea last week.

Support services Director Connie Hinson said the Web streaming wouldn't be a problem, but the county may need more manpower and equipment to produce more professional broadcasts with multiple camera angles.

Snellville politics

Now for the other news.

Snellville officials are meeting at 9 a.m. today to discuss an open records request that has people

fuming.

Southern Gwinnett Neighborhood Alliance founder Brenda Lee requested Councilman Warren Auld's

e-mails.

Auld is expected to resign his seat in order to run for House District 106, a post Phyllis Miller is expected to resign to become a Juvenile Court Judge.

Lee is working on the campaign of former Councilman Melvin Everson for the same House seat. A third candidate, Garry Rhodes, has announced a run for the special election not yet scheduled.

Auld said the city attorney requested a meeting to clarify the city policy, but a memo from the city attorney said the meeting comes at Auld's request.

Auld said the questions mostly concern whether the city should search other computers for any e-mails and how the e-mails should be redacted in terms of information that concerns lawsuits and personal information.

"It goes far beyond this individual request," he said. "I am going to disclose everything I can find. It's going to be up to the city what they do with it."

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer will be out of town today but had already said he refused to attend a meeting of this nature. He's accusing Auld and other council members of trying to shut down access to the government.

But Auld said the meeting today will mostly be about council members learning the policy and how to comply with it.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com .