Transparency. We all want it in our government, but how does transparency “look” in real life and what are its effects?
A – ACCESS
- Plan meetings at a time and place so that people can reasonably attend.
- Discuss issues in open meetings, where citizens are invited and encouraged to hear all that is being said.
- Provide public information to citizens in a convenient, accessible format through an open data platform.
- Record and post public meetings.
C – COMMUNICATE
- Post meeting agendas for work sessions and regular meetings in a timely fashion on the city website.
- Provide meeting materials (agendas and agenda packets) to citizens who subscribe.
- Post meeting notices on city social media pages.
- Record and post minutes for all city council meetings–work sessions and regular meetings–where business is transacted.
- Record and post minutes for all of our city’s subsidiary foundations, boards, commissions and committees.
E – ETHICS
- Post all city contracts, competitive bids and relevant conflict of interest statements before contracts are awarded.
- Post publicly all service agreements and conflict of interest statements in advance of the agreement signing.
- Regularly review and evaluate professional service contracts that are not bid to ensure an optimum level of service and cost-effectiveness.
- Select professional service vendors, whenever possible, who are not impeded by a conflict of interest.
- Rotate the selection of auditors to ensure independence, objectivity and fiscal responsibility.
- Advertise vacancies on all city boards and commissions; use an application process to identify potential conflicts of interest and ensure the best selection is made.
- Provide mandatory ethics training for new city council, board and commission members.
- Require appointees to adhere to this transparency platform.
When we ACE transparency, we achieve:
- Development that is responsive to the desires of the community
- Stronger ethics in government
- Efficient, responsible use of taxpayer dollars
- Decisions that put citizens first and other concerns second
- City services that best meet the needs of citizens
- Community image and reputation that makes us all proud
If you elect me to the Vestavia Hills City Council, you will have a pair of watchful eyes and an advocate for the examples of transparency provided above.
“If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.” [Justice Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court]