Government officials, whether elected by the people, appointed by elected officials, or employed to work for government entities, aren’t supposed to break the law. They aren’t supposed to lie to us. State statutes provide specific instances where they are expected to keep quite about certain things, but that doesn’t absolve them from the legal obligation to provide information that’s requested of them under the Freedom of Information Act.
By now most of you know the contrivers about the graves at the 12th high school. Officials with PWCS have stated that the surveyor, Ross, France, and Ratliff LTD, failed to inform them of the graves or note them on the 2008 survey they completed of the land. Several concerned citizens and school board members have requested this survey but have been unable to obtain it. They’ve been given number of different answers from Officials with PWCS – that the survey can’t be located, that the FOIA request is too broad or that it will cost thousands of dollars in FOIA fees for school division employees to locate and provide the survey, or that the survey can’t be provided because doing might put the school division at risk of litigation.
Perhaps this is why…
At last night’s public meeting on the graves, a woman addressed the school board. She lives in the area and has lived there for some time. She stated that in 2008 she told the surveyor for Ross, France, and Ratliff LTD about the cemetery and another one on the property.
The 2008 survey needs to be produced and presented for public review. If PWCS’ filing system is so poorly organized that they can’t located the survey, which they’ve been citing constantly so I find that unlikely, them Ross, France, and Ratliff should have a copy. If Ross, France, and Ratliff don’t have a copy, then Moseley Architects should.
Either Ross, France, and Ratliff LTD is appears to be incompetent and failed to inform the school division of the possibility that not one, but two cemeteries might be located on the site, or officials with PWCS are lying.
PWCS has lost the public’s trust on this issue.
The full survey needs to be presented immediately.
The 2008 survey has been located and is published by the PWC Conservation Alliance here. I found nothing in the report that indicates graves or cemeteries. Ross, France, and Ratliff LTD, Wetland Studies and Solutions, their subsidiary, Thunderbird Archaeology, have some explaining to do.
PWCS isn’t of the hook. They did a poor job of notifying the public that they intended to exhume the graves and once they got started, they were unwilling to stop. The public hearings they’re having now should have happened before the graves were exhumed.