Now that local elections are over, we suggest that the community focus important attention on improving the quality of governance at the county level.
Such governance has been characterized in many ways over the last several years by:
- Reluctance of the county government to listen to the community
- Inability of the county government to provide coherent “data for decision making” to the community, such as on the total costs and total costs per user of various recreational activities
- The county’s making a range of failed choices, such as the land giveaway for a proposed hotel that could not be built as planned
- The county’s regularly proposing projects whose economic, financial, social, and environmental costs and benefits have not been assessed or compared to alternative uses of the same funds
In addition, the County Council also seems in many ways to be hostage to the county staff, some of whom appear to lack the technical skills needed for their positions and who also appear unable to work cooperatively with a community as engaged as ours. The proposals on the golf course and trails reflected this.
As the new Council begins its work, we call on the Council members to pledge to the community that they will:
- Listen better to the community
- Be more transparent in their decision making
- Ensure, by establishing a standard procedure, that all major projects are subjected to an analysis of their economic, financial, social, and environmental costs and benefits
- Ensure that the analysis for all major projects include specific comments on the extent to which the proposed investment has a higher rate of return than alternative uses of the same funds
- Hold the County Manager accountable for ensuring that county staff consistently engage in high quality technical work and engage with the community in inclusive, open, and transparent ways.
We look forward to early and significant improvements in the county’s processes for making decisions about the expenditure of public funds on investments, operations, and maintenance.
Signed, in their individual and private capacity, by the following (shown in reverse alphabetical order):