Friday, September 21, 2012

What Are You Hiding?

I used to live in a village that broadcast its board meetings.  While the discussion of whether or not to approve the minutes was hardly on a par with NCIS, most citizens were interested in the new businesses that were coming to town, what the mayor had planned for the 4th of July celebration, and how the budget looked. We felt knowledgeable and it was one of the few times I went into the voting booth knowing exactly who stood for what because I had seen how they voted.

A few years ago, I moved to a town that does not televise its meetings.  Periodically there are articles in the local paper questioning that and the excuse is always the same - there's no money in the budget for it.  This was the justification even when the village was rolling in dough during the height of the real estate bubble.

I have to wonder why those in charge of our town feel that televising the board meetings is unimportant.  Or perhaps I don't need to speculate at all.  When it comes to local politics, the less said, the better?  No doubt, the village trustees fear what the citizens might hear in an unguarded and heated discussion moment.  

We all assume business is conducted at the meetings but possibly they spend an hour or two playing bridge. Who's to know?

Good communication in government has nothing to do with politics. It is about fostering a sense of community. Residents want to know what's going on and that's getting harder and harder.  In an age when local news comes from foreign writers (see my post from July 5 - Local News from Faraway Places), televised village meetings are more important than ever.

So my fingers are crossed that things will change and in the meantime, my neighbors and I keep guessing about what's going on behind those closed doors.

No comments: