By Laurel Hauser
Thank you, Mr. Utnehmer, for articulating in your recent editorial many of the items I also believe need to be changed in our city.
I’ve just completed my first year as an elected official, and those who have been paying attention know that it’s been one for the proverbial books — difficult, frustrating, maddening and, at many times, downright surreal. It’s also been educational and enlightening.
The results of Tuesday’s election indicate that our community’s ready for a paradigm shift, a new way of doing business. As Mr. Utnehmer says, this shift comes with “significant responsibility.”
At this hinge point between what was and what will be, I’ve been thinking about that responsibility. How will we, the new council, know if we’ve met it? The questions below will be my personal indicators of our success.
- Does the council have open and meaningful conversation before voting on issues? Are the motives behind arguments comprehendible?
- Do we seek public input? If hot-button items emerge, do we solicit more input, not less?
- Are we adhering to our policies? Are those policies clear and accessible to the public?
- Are our decisions fiscally responsible?
- Can our decisions be conveyed simply and clearly?
- And finally, are we communicating our work with the media so the community can stay informed?
I’ve spent many hours this past year trying to help people make sense of what the council has done when there was little or no sense to be found. If we can answer yes to the questions above, we will have fewer “What just happened?” moments after council meetings and our local government will be more accessible to its citizens.