Silence is deafening down at City Hall
(March 1, 2013)
The silent treatment.
That’s what mayor and City Council majority are giving the public as they make multi-million-dollar agreements that obligate taxpayers in perpetuity.
And that’s just one of things that’s wrong with their current approach to conducting the public’s business. After privately promising raises and a return to the old pension fund for some public safety workers, the mayor and council did so while knowing they don’t have the money to pay for it.
The fact is the only way to cover these increased expenses is to hit resort taxpayers and visitors with new and higher fees, if not taxes. One would think that at least a heads-up to the public would have been in order. But no, not even a hint.
This mum’s-the-word style also has been applied to the workplace harassment action filed earlier this year, when members of the firefighters union and some councilmembers inappropriately tried to block the promotion of a female fire department lieutenant.
Even though the behavior of some union members and elected officials was outrageous, will the public ever know how that situation was addressed or even whether it was addressed? No.
Most council members and others involved in that situation signed a confidentiality agreement, meaning they can’t talk about it. They didn’t do that to spare the public the details, to protect the victim from additional harm or to make Ocean City a better place for residents or visitors. They did it to protect the image of local government. In other words, if no one talks about it, it never happened.
The rhetoric of the last election was all about restoring responsible government. The thing is it’s impossible for anyone to know how responsible elected officials are being when they won’t say what they’re doing.