Transparency for employees too
Someone said to me recently that I was too critical of Newton County government. Reading back over my columns, I can see how a quick read might leave that impression.
The folks you get when you call on the phone, work the front desks. Those who labor out of sight usually only see us when there is a problem. Both are more helpful and courteous than we often deserve. So, how does that square with my comments about the continuing failure of our local government to be transparent, etc.?
The employees of Newton County, including some department managers, have the same problems as the rest of us with regard to transparency of government. They need more information themselves and want to make more information available to Newton County citizens. But, they are stymied by the current technology choke point.
They also have no real voice in shaping answers to the final budget since there are “ professionals” who will prepare and present black box options to the Board of Commissioners. Those proposals may serve the needs of Newton County, but it isn’t by a transparent process.
At a minimum a transparent process would include public posting of detailed proposed budgets from departments with supporting documentation, with tracking of how those proposals were used to create the “budgets” that are now presented as “take it or leave it” options.
I have a great deal of faith in the most of the worker bees and their managers of Newton County government. They (and we) deserve the information transparency and technology needed to do their jobs. But they aren’t going to get it unless we insist upon it.