On this Tuesday evening, we are pleased to find the full audio of today’s workshop already posted on Cecil County Government’s homepage. From now on, Citizens are going to be able to listen to the commissioners exchange ideas, debate matters, and negotiate public solutions at the workshops. Moreover, no longer will interested parties have to depend on the selective filters and limited space of print media (or new media for that matter) to share news of what happened. We are all now able to listen in and hear the commissioners exchanges directly. This important step forward strengthens the quality of public decisions as constituents are now able to provide feedback to elected officials while they’re crafting public policy matters. Broad citizen input, beyond just a few special interest groups, is an excellent thing.
Before today, one would sometimes wait months for minutes to be approved and posted. As weeks passed by, it was often way too late to provide input by the time the official record was approved and posted. Right now, the last workshop minutes the commissioners approved for posting were from Jan 18th. That leaves five sessions where the public doesn’t have a record of discussions or decisions. The last written record from the formal board meeting is Jan 4th, and so there are three sessions where the public is still waiting for a written report. (Audio was available for many evening sessions, a practice that started about a year ago.)
Borrowing from that fine editorial page tradition of the county’s daily paper, the Cecil Whig, where it awards thumbs-up and thumbs-down on matters of local importance on the op/ed pages, Someone Noticed is ready to give its own award.
To Commissioner Broomell, we give a thumbs up as she was the advocate for this approach. This important step forward didn’t just happen and the fourth district representative was the force pushing for it. Of course, we recognize that other officials (or the majority) had to go along, but that’s not the same as being the elected leader that’s consistently urged the opening up of these meetings to a wide audience. We need more sunshine on the affairs of local government and its refreshing to see an elected officials push for more and more sunshine.
Keep speaking up for more sunshine on the affairs of local government Commissioner Broomell. Hopefully others will follow your lead.