Agendas, minutes missing from Verde Valley Career, Technology Education center website

Linda Buchanan: “You should not have to dig this diligently to get public information. It was frustrating. And it continues to be frustrating.” (VVN/Bill Helm)

Linda Buchanan: “You should not have to dig this diligently to get public information. It was frustrating. And it continues to be frustrating.” (VVN/Bill Helm)

COTTONWOOD - A basic request for information is anything but basic when dealing with the Valley Academy of Career and Technology Education.

That was the experience of Camp Verde resident Linda Buchanan when she requested copies of the governing board's minutes and agendas she says were once on the VACTE website.

After calling and emailing VACTE for access to the public records, she decided it was time to go further up the food chain. She contacted the Arizona Ombudsman's Office, a citizens aide organization that endeavors to make government more responsive to the people.

"I wasn't trying to create a tracking record," Buchanan said. "I was just trying to get agendas. You should not have to dig this diligently to get public information. It was frustrating. And it continues to be frustrating."

In the past few weeks, the career and technology education program is not only missing those documents. VACTE is also missing its leader.

Yet nobody at VACTE is able to explain what happened to the website's documentation.

Because nobody at VACTE is answering that question.

"When they told me they weren't posting due to technology issues, I inquired as to why, as a technology training institute, they didn't fix their technology issues," Buchanan stated in a recent email. "At that point, I began a personal quest for information as a local and legislative matter."

Last week, VACTE announced that it would hold a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 30. During its March 23 meeting, the board went into executive session to consider naming an interim superintendent to replace former CEO Lois Lamer, who resigned March 11 due to health issues.

At its Wednesday (today) special meeting, the VACTE governing board could move to appoint an interim superintendent and approve the Interim Superintendent's employment contract.

Before the possibility of a vote, the board may vote to go into executive session for discussion and consultation with the district's attorney(s) regarding contracts, which are subject to negotiations.

Local level

VACTE representatives have also not responded to inquiries regarding agendas and minutes from 2013-2014 that until late last week had been available on the website - but are no longer posted online.

"Big changes are underway at VACTE," Buchanan stated in a recent open letter to VACTE. "Transparency should exist at the local level. It's time for VACTE leadership to post meeting packets, return phone calls, and respond with documentation to media inquiries."

The March 30 VACTE meeting will be held in the District Governing Board Room at 830 S. Main St., Suite 2-G in Cottonwood.

Agendas are to be posted no later than 24 hours prior to the meeting and can be seen at http://vacte.com/agendas-minutes.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42 and on Facebook at @CampVerdeBugle

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