Where is pub­lic at Cit­i­zen’s Cor­ner?

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE -

FROM: ALAN REASIN CONOWINGO

On Dec. 4, 2010, I pro­posed in a let­ter to the Ce­cil Whig edi­tor that in or­der to im­prove county govern­ment trans­parency a town hall-type meet­ing might be held one hour prior to the com­mis­sion­ers’ leg­isla­tive meet­ing. I had talked to then-Com­mis­sioner Robert Hodge about this pro­posal and Com­mis­sioner Diana Broomell pro­posed the es­tab­lish­ment of what be­came Cit­i­zen’s Cor­ner.

While I am proud that Ce­cil County govern­ment es­tab­lished a fo­rum where cit­i­zens can in­ter­act with the com­mis­sion­ers and now the coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tives, I have watched over th­ese al­most six years Ce­cil County cit­i­zens ig­nore this op­por­tu­nity to ques­tion our lo­cal govern­ment’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives and re­ceive a re­ply — some­thing that is not al­lowed for cit­i­zens dur­ing the leg­isla­tive or work­ing ses­sion. Many times I have been the only cit­i­zen at the Cit­i­zen’s Cor­ner meet­ings. Yes, when an­i­mal con­trol and home sprin­kler is­sues have been on the agenda, many cit­i­zens at­tend the Cit­i­zen’s Cor­ner meet­ing, how­ever, govern­ment doesn’t ex­ist to just ad­dress hot is­sues; the mun­dane is­sues of govern­ment can set the tone and ba­sis for im­por­tant de­ci­sions that may af­fect us all.

Thus, the coun­cil has voted to change the Cit­i­zen’s Cor­ner meet­ing to be held only on the first Tues­day of each month at 6 p.m. While I un­der­stand why this was done, I am dis­ap­pointed that Ce­cil County cit­i­zens, as with most Amer­i­cans, com­plain about govern­ment, but when given the chance to make a dif­fer­ence are not in­ter­ested. There are few venues of­fered by all lev­els of govern­ment that give the cit­i­zen a chance to ques­tion the de­ci­sions and the method­ol­ogy used to ar­rived at them by our govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Thomas Jef­fer­son said, “The govern­ment you elect is govern­ment you de­serve.” H.L. Mencken im­proved it by say­ing, “Peo­ple de­serve the govern­ment they get, and they de­serve to get it good and hard.”

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