The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Columns

April 19, 2014

Ken de la Bastide: County may eliminate Data Processing Board

It would be safe to assume that most Madison County residents aren’t standing in line to attend the meetings of the county’s Data Processing Board.

But action two weeks ago by the Madison County commissioners to close the meetings to the public might run afoul of the Indiana Open Door law, and a local resident is considering filing a complaint with the Public Access Counselor’s Office for a determination.

In voting to close the meetings, the commissioners indicated the Data Processing Board meetings would not be open to the public because there are discussions at times of the county’s computer security software and hardware.

Lisa Phillips, network administrator and a member of the Madison County Council, said the Information Technology department didn’t want the public to know the structure of the computer network.

“We don’t want the public to know what security systems are being used,” she said. “Opening the meetings to the public would be detrimental.”

John Richwine, president of the Board of Commissioners, said if closing the meetings to the public was challenged, he would support eliminating the board in the future.

Steve Key, an attorney for the Indiana State Press Association, said since the Data Processing Board was created by an ordinance adopted by the commissioners, it is a public agency and subject to the Open Door law.

“It’s possible for the board to meet in executive session to discuss the system’s security measures,” Key said. “But if it’s to discuss the purchasing of computers, it should be done in a public meeting.”

Key said the Data Processing Board meetings should be open to the public.

CATS terminal back on the table

The clock is ticking on $1.8 million in federal funds the city of Anderson is scheduled to receive for construction of a new CATS terminal.

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