According to Webster’s Dictionary there are five definitions of what it means to be transparent and the fifth describes what I am writing, ”without guile or concealment, open, frank candid.”
In a recent City council meeting a citizen stood up and made a statement, within that statement he said “be transparent.” Several of us have been on council for years know a history of seemingly hidden information to the public but this one? It has to be wondered how we can be more open.
At each meeting we give the public opportunity to ask questions and speak their minds on any issue concerning the City of New Carlisle. At times, the council even connects them to the right road to get the answer to the question asked. Part of the duties of councilpersons when elected or appointed is to be available to our constituents and we answer emails, phone calls, dialogue with citizens on the sidewalks and eateries. Citizens expect us to be honest in getting out information and to be sincere and transparent in presenting it.
This year one of the councilman presented the opportunity to post our budget online, what the city spends, and expenses online, on the Ohio Checkbook. It is a year behind but it is new for the administration and it takes a lot of their time to post. Look up Ohio Checkbook and then New Carlisle this can be done anytime of the day. Similar up to date information is also presented at the second council meeting of the month. A report from Finance director includes a check register, expenses, and revenues. If a citizen cannot make the meetings go to the pay window at the government office and request a copy. If they are busy or take additional research you will have to be patient, when I worked for the newspaper I asked for the press package and it included most of the same information given to council. Not sure if it is available to citizens.
The beginnings of each year two budget meetings are usually held to discuss the budget for the year. The budget has actual amounts from the previous year and a breakdown from several before to do a comparison. At the work sessions it is presented either by the city manager or finance director of the rational for the figures. Questions are asked by the councilmembers present as well as citizens. Sometimes, no citizens’ attend but many ask “Why” later when it is too late.
If you like research the library in the genealogy room has back articles from newspapers and council minutes. I occasionally go to the library doing research issues. Ordinances are online after they are codified. Google New Carlisle Ordinances and within the same page is a whole lot of other information.
One of the complaints is the slow response to request for information. Employees have other duties too. So I am sure they will work in your request and not ignore it.
Sometimes, contracts become a legal issue and those are not transparent. However, there is a two week review period when ordinances are introduced then voted, at that time discussion can commence and the citizens can voice their opinions. The ordinances are also published in the local newspaper.
And I have not touched You Tube videos, DATV broadcasts and Facebook page.
After all of this, many still say we are hiding something. I do not think it is possible with all the possibilities of reviewing and questioning. This council and administration is open, honest and sincere for the transparency of information for the betterment of New Carlisle.