We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we giveWinston Churchill
Since I have been attending the public meetings in the Township, I am often surprised at the behavior of elected and paid township officials. Its important to remember that public officials who chose to run for office, or staff who are paid for by our tax dollars, are there to serve the needs of the public, not the reverse. If residents come to ask questions or to speak up about something that concerns them, it’s the job of public servants to be empathetic, to alleviate those fears, and to allow the questions to flow freely as should the responses flow honestly and freely in return. It should not become a game, to hide the status or actions in process. Transparency at the level required for this township to work effectively, is inconsistent at best.
Our township staff works behind locked doors, communicate through an intercom system, selectively permit access to the building and aggressively fight right to know requests. Simplicity of township actions would be to reverse that philosophy – information flow should be open, frequent, transparent and unless harmful to individuals, shared. Not having to wait to share information unless demanded or right before an upcoming meeting should NOT be the norm.
Open Government – Transparency in attitude and through automation
I will work to modernize Edgmont Township by introducing simple and effective new processes and systems, to more effectively house documents and electronically communicate status of all relevant information that should be available in the public domain and regularly communicated to Edgmont residents. The current operational processes of using Right to Know requests is an antiquated process that is also cumbersome and expensive to maintain from a labor and legal perspective. Information that doesn’t have a reason to be kept confidential should be in the public domain. Dependence on paper systems and the delays for simple information requests are unacceptable and costly for both the recipient and the labor associated with any transaction.
A recent Right to Know request submitted required township officials to reply in a 90 page rebuttal. The net product was a 3 page proposal that had nothing whatsoever in it that was confidential. The process made no sense, the effort required by the requester made no sense and the township response was lengthy, cumbersome and costly to Edgmont taxpayers.
Simple, inexpensive and efficient technologies are not used in Edgmont that if deployed could substantially increase efficiencies of staff, cut down on legal and contractor costs, improve speed of service and facilitate greater transparency and quality of communications. And, effectively save the township money!
We all have the right to raise concerns, ask questions, seek answers and be treated with respect.
The Township officials, whether elected or paid, must understand that all residents regardless of their tenure, income, affiliation, appearance, etc. have the right to ask questions and expect transparent, truthful answers. I’m running to facilitate Edgmont Township’s transition into a safer, brighter, more efficient future. A future where we can all expect to be treated fairly, without bias.
Vote for change on November 5th.