On Tuesday, October 6th another step in the right direction was made by our city’s elected officials. For months now we have been asking the city for several things that would bring about increased transparency, collaboration and participation. Among those requests were that more minutes of council meetings, work sessions, and other official meetings be posted online for easy access by the public. We have asked for increased financial transparency in the form of inexpensive software that would post more accurate up-to-date information about the city’s financial activities online. We have also asked for the current budget with amendments to be posted online for the citizens to see. Another request we have made is for all official meetings of the council and other boards be streamed and archived online and streamed on a public access television channel. All of these requests have been made in an effort to increase the openness of city government and to facilitate the participation of the citizens of that government.
Some of these requests have been granted. There are now more minutes from the City Council meetings and work sessions posted on the city’s website and the current budget is posted online. While we would prefer to see these items posted in a searchable format, progress is being made and we are happy that they have gone as far as they have.
We made a request a few weeks ago to meet with the entire City Council and the Mayor, but were denied that request. However, Rhett Marques who District 5’s City Councilman, did agree to meet with us. He was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to discuss with us some of our ideas about improving the openness of our City Government. As a result of that, more progress is being made and we would like to thank Councilman Marques for his willingness to have an open and frank conversation about improving the City of Progress.
Last week the City issued a press release announcing that for the first time they had streamed and archived a council meeting online for all citizens to watch, free of charge, at their convenience. This is another step in the right direction and we are happy to see it and want to thank the city for their efforts to implement some of our suggestions. While we are hopeful they will expand this to stream the meetings on a public access television channel (for those who prefer this method of delivery), we are certainly grateful for this progress. If you would like to watch last week’s council meeting you can see it here.
Here is a list of just some of the requests we have made and hope the city will implement.
- searchable documents along with other website improvements
- expand video to all other public meetings
- financial transparency software to the transaction level
- an improved and more open board appointment process
- capital project transparency
- regular townhall forums in the districts to engage and encourage participation amongst the citizens
- work to develop a true culture of openness in city government