Your Opinion: Communicate facts to the voters
Thursday, August 16, 2012
“I think I was very careful in that, not to tell them how to vote” — City Administrator
Really? I don’t think that is the truth. I think that is dishonest. I think the intention of that e-mail was to encourage city employees to support a tax increase by telling them that their departments would benefit from its passage and suffer from its failure. I think the intention of the e-mail was clear. And I think I’m being very careful in that, I’m not calling it an outright lie.
It’s my understanding that it’s always been clear to the city government that existing funds within the budget that are allocated to the fire department would have been disbursed to other areas had the tax passed. As a voter I didn’t know that.
One councilman said that I should have just called him or came to the committee meetings. I could have done that. Every single interested citizen could have done that; or, maybe when one of our elected representatives is reading the newspaper and sees an article debating what would happen to the existing funds they could pick up the phone or shoot an e-mail to the staff at that newspaper and communicate the facts of the issue to all of us?
I’m not saying that the guy should be fired. I’m just looking for an acknowledgment from city leaders that you know this isn’t how business should be done. An acknowledgment that the most accurate public explanation of what would happen with existing funds shouldn’t come on the morning of the vote from an e-mail that the public wasn’t intended to see. I’m looking for an apology to the public for the content of the e-mail, not an apology for the spectacle that followed the e-mail. We may not be attorneys, but we don’t need to be to understand that e-mail. It’s clearer to folks than you think.
If that e-mail wasn’t wrong, then make it wrong. Make sure future communications like that aren’t acceptable. I’m sure that is within your power and I’m also sure you’d be greeted with wide support. If your goal is the build trust with the people then this would be a good step in that direction. Very few people opposed funding the fire department to this level. Try making a case for cuts to other areas to fund one of our most essential departments ... we’ll understand.