Monday, December 27, 2010

Trust and Openness and Democracy

"It is the government with something to hide, or thinks itself justified in so doing, that we must fear most." Thomas Paine - The First American Blogger.

There are so many bad things that happen when information is suppressed. Corruption is easy, incompetence remains uncorrected, money goes missing, decisions are made without access to inforation, responsibility is diffused.

On December 14, the City Manager had no report to the commissioners and the assembled citizens at the Commission Meeting. The Chief of Police excused himself without a Public Safety briefing.

North Bay Village has returned to closed system of government. The City Manager and the Police Chief are by omission withholding information from the commissioners and more importantly from the citizens. And that information is costing us.

It seems the projects are dead. The critical infrastructure that we need to create a well balanced community with a diverse tax base has died.

The budget may or may not be in line. We have no way of knowing.

The garbage outsourcing migh be save us $80,000 or $500,000. We have no way of knowing.

Crime may be up or down in North Bay Village. We have no way of knowing.

The PD may have needed to change the command structure and give raises to several officers now promoted. Or maybe it didn't. We have no way of knowing.

None of these critical issues were brought up by the two people who are obligated by law to bring these to the commission. And the information was omitted without explanation or apology.

The current city administration is operating in the shadows, without communication to the public, and without the openness that is the basic framework democracy.

In this environment, speculation is all we have and that's bad. We have too much at risk and too much invested to tolerate this.

The City Manager and the Chief of Police need to step up now and provide a full accounting of the finances, the crime statistics, the response times, the full explanation of the current administrative status of the city and their recommendations to the commission in detail.

Accountability is not optional.

Kevin Vericker
December 27, 2010

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