I congratulate city manager George Murray for taking steps to reduce city costs. His action is a breath of fresh air. I do, however, have some comments and questions.
In an autocratic political system, citizens are expected to pay taxes, obey laws, and go about their private business. In a free and open system, citizens are also expected to ask questions and hold rulers accountable. This citizen has a question.
Why have our city officials decided that taxpayers shall not be told whether certain departing senior staff members are receiving a severance? I believe we have a right to know. Here are my reasons:
It’s our money. Officials can do with their own money as they please but we have a right to know what they do with our money. I’ve read that welfare recipients may develop a sense of entitlement; it seems that some city hall tenants have acquired that disposition.
Taxpayers have a right to know for which positions a precedent is being set. Is city hall saddling us with a new set of financial obligations?
Complete accountability and transparency about major expenditures is essential to maintain citizens’ trust in city hall.
There’s no justification for secrecy. This request does not involve someone else’s private affairs. The focus is on taxpayers’ money.
If there is a contractual obligation to maintain secrecy, then we need to know. We, the taxpayers paying the largesse, can then insist that such an unnecessary promise shall not be included in any future contracts.
Remember, city officials, whether you are elected or appointed, you are our employees, not we yours!
John H. Redekop