From the outset of my campaign this summer, my platform has been TRANSPARENCY + ACCOUNTABILITY. Today, I'll tackle transparency...
I spent many years in graduate school researching communication tools that enhance local government functionality and enable the sharing of information required for collaboration, cooperation, and collective decision making. I then put many of those concepts into practice, such as building one municipality's first website and converting a pencil & paper ledger system to municipal accounting & budgeting software.
These experiences were enlightening. They taught me to be sensitive to the fact that when I offer ideas to improve communications or minimize the likelihood of lawsuits, those who respond with, "but, we've always done it this way," or "things are fine the way they are," are not necessarily being difficult, but instead struggling with change. As such, I understand that in this race, some individuals don't want to accept "Transparency & Accountability" as a platform. This is because it's uncomfortable to admit that there are long-standing, overarching problems, which I intend to fix with a positive & proactive approach that embraces technology and collaboration in order to achieve inclusive & responsive governance.
I want to move beyond OPMA and OPRA compliance to actually engage citizens in meaningful and efficient ways that make sense in 2019. That's why, once elected, you'll find me at Borough Hall (instead of my office on Tanner Street) with my laptop and a cup of tea, at least one (1) morning per week. I'll also offer video conferencing & chat options for those who are homebound or working long hours. Moreover, I plan to employ an engagement exercise that has worked well in other communities, which I call “Neighborhood Nights” (of course, the name may change). These will afford large blocks of constituents the opportunity to express ideas and concerns, whether reporting flooding & property damage, identifying safety concerns, inquiring about permits & the land use approval process, or making the Borough aware of efforts to rally round an ailing neighbor. I also want evaluate our overall messaging goals and develop a content calendar that is both meaningful AND useful.
I don't believe in waiting for problems to occur before becoming engaged with my community. That's why I started my campaign by hosting "Popsicle Parties" and knocking on doors. Let’s keep the momentum going for the next 21 days; after which I hope to have the opportunity to connect with you again as your newest Commissioner.