We are constantly being reassured by our local elected officials their desire is to see a transparent and open government. It was reiterated again last night at the September city council meeting.
As much as I would love to believe this to be so, and as much as the citizens crave such a wonderful concept, we haven’t yet seen it.
In the April city council meeting we were told about all the wonderful things city officials had in store for us. How we would soon enjoy the benefits of an open government, how our representatives would schedule meetings with the public to help us better understand exactly how our government functions.
In that same council meeting, a solution was brought to the table in regards to the purchase of a pe-owned firetruck and how to address the cost. Nothing was mentioned about the money from Morrison TIF for the purchase of new equipment, although within a few days it became common knowledge.
This same night, nothing was mentioned about the finance committee’s lack-luster meeting schedule (one meeting in 16 months).
On Friday, September 11th, 2009, an impromptu press conference was called by members of the city council. However, not every member of city council was informed or perhaps even invited. The press conference was basically a complaint session with the local newspaper for an article written on the city budget giving the administration credit. The city council may have felt slighted when little kudos was sent their way.
Which brings up another issue. If council is looking for affirmation on their role in the budget process, will they take responsibility if it fails? I believe it is a big NO.
Which brings up yet another issue, one which should concern us all. If certain members of city council exclude other members from participating in city business, can we really expect a transparent government for the citizens. I am sad to say, it is another big NO.
We are all aware that plastic wrap is a clear and transparent. Cut off a piece and look through it to the other side. Compare it to a piece of aluminum foil. One side is shiny and the other is foggy.
City council is really aluminum foil in their approach to transparent government. The shiny side only shows their reflection and the foggy side is the public’s face. Stay informed and stay alert. The future of our city is riding on this leadership.
The video of the September 14th, 2009 Meeting can be found at CDCPTR website.