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The Ellis County Press arming voter-reporters amid pay raise outrage

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There are some very irate voters in Ellis County, and The Ellis County Press publisher Charles Hatfield Jr. has pitched an idea to “deputize” (credit: #dontGo movement's Bill Collier originally gave us this idea earlier this year) residents of the four commissioner precincts with press badges, video cameras, digital cameras, notepads and an “intelligence” network that would report each week their findings, photos, video, etc. of the county’s elected officials.

The 4 percent pay raise that The Ellis County Press plastered on its front page last week prompted the outrage that we are hearing about now.

In a 3-1 vote (Precinct 1 Commissioner Dennis Robinson voted against it) last week, the all-Republican court voted every elected official a pay raise.

Here’s how the deputized reporter program works (since we can’t call ourselves private investigators without a license, we can instead deputize reporters):

1) Each resident of their precinct gets an official ECP press pass with their photo, name, etc.
2) Each resident gets copies of an open records request form to make copies, to fax, to e-mail, etc.
3) Each resident gets a video camera;
4) Each resident gets a digital camera;
5) Each resident has permission to document, record, follow, monitor and otherwise “watchdog” their elected officials and report back to the ECP each week (via e-mail, phone, etc.) their findings.

Those that are interested — and so far, we have had 16 residents sign up! — should contact The Ellis County Press at: 972-544-2369 or press@elliscountypress.com

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