April 26, 2011
As a citizen interested in governance I marvel at the great job our city management and staff do to further transparency. Our city has been extremely proactive and a leader in making information available to all.
Use these Internet resources:
Virtually any information can be readily found at the City of Winter Park Web Site.
Stay connected with automatic email notices of city events important to you.
Register for the city Outreach program (emergency notifications).
Friend the City of Winter Park Facebook page.
Receive Tweets about city news in real time.
Our city management and staff provide and continually improve information resources to assure us of transparency, to provide full information relevant to city decisions, and to facilitate citizen participation in our governance.
My research on city issues over the years has been consistently aided by a professional city management and staff clearly interested in serving our needs and in disseminating information in a complete and unbiased manner.
The next time you hear about something going on in Winter Park that concerns you be sure to check the city Web Site to verify the facts and call city management if you need clarification.
I am honored to live in a city that understands and lives up to the highest standards of government transparency. I encourage everyone to take advantage of these resources and to be informed about our city.
Regards, Pete Weldon
I concur that the City makes an outstanding effort to share information with its citizens via various media. Although I’m of neither the Facebook nor the Twitter generation, I am able to navigate the City’s website easily and, more often than not, find that for which I’m searching. I’m particularly pleased with the site’s ability to broadcast live the Commission’s meetings, as well as to archive past meetings. If anything, this feature should be better advertised as an alternative for actual citizen attendance, as the Commission tends to meet at times inconvenient for many working citizens. Another suggestion would be to expand these broadcasts to include public board meetings.
On a somewhat related noted I was listening to the April 25th meeting after news broke regarding the Commission’s decision to pay up to $105,000 to Kulture, LLC for “consulting services related to upcoming PERC election.” Although this issue fell under the “action items requiring discussion” heading, I found that little was discussed and even less revealed about this substantial use of public funds. Those in attendance who did not read the supporting documents buried on page 202 of the agenda packet were given no clue as to the controversial nature of the agreement, which has already caused the City some embarrassment courtesy of the local media. While I do not long for the recently-passed days of “talking to death” every minute item on the agenda, the decision of the Commission to engage the services of a union-buster with taxpayer dollars merited more disclosure. The Commission met its legal notification requirements, but fell short in its goal of transparency.
I offer a different perspective. Every issue has its interested parties and it is impossible in the vast majority of cases to know which issues will get commented upon or are notable for discussion. For example, it never occurred to me to comment on the engagement of Kulture because the city has a duty to pursue the best interests of the citizens. In my view the prospect of unionization presents many issues that deserve professional expertise not available on city staff so the engagement of a consultant seems to me a wise and appropriate expenditure. You note that the issue should have received greater disclosure but you also note that local media commented on it, so it has not been ignored or gone unnoticed.
I don’t think the term “transparency” means that city staff or the city commission members can be asked or expected to anticipate a need for notoriety of any particular issue or for any particular audience. What it does mean is that documents relevant to city commission decisions are available and that all requests for factual information will be responded to promptly and completely, a standard I believe the city meets to date on a consistent basis. I will speak loudly should I find this is not to be the case in the future.