Ted Noftall via gmail.com
It is a sad day indeed to see a News paper that features Milton’s famous quote on its mast head, report on the gutting of open government in Port Orange [New Port Orange city manager stops posting email on line ] without decrying same elsewhere in that publication.
Make no mistake the Manager’s read file provided residents with an easy and convenient venue to remain abreast of City happenings and to decide for themselves the extent to which city government was operating in an open and transparent fashion. As reported the managers e-mails were the third most visited link on the city’s web site and to suggest they were shut down to save a reported $45 per week, that will soon enough be circumvented via multiple requests from residents, requires the willing suspension of disbelief.
Neither ate these e-mails the only information being curtailed as the managers weekly calendar and monthly project and engineering reports are no longer distributed as a matter of record either.
Port Orange pioneered ‘ open government ‘ in Volusia County with live video of all Council proceedings and an open read log of all the Managers correspondence. While several local governments followed Port Oranges lead with live feed of their own proceedings, those who failed to do so did not want to encourage an informed electorate, AND anyone wishing to dispute this observation should first go ahead and explain exactly how easy it is to follow County Council proceedings from their home or place of business in audio form only. .
Open transparent government generates informed citizens who are frequently critical of the aims and objectives of government or how those aims and objectives are being implemented. It is far more likely that a desire to avoid criticism by both elected representative and the Manager alike is why the read file was taken down, and this brings us to the second distasteful aspect of this action. The Manager certainly did not take the measures he did without first consulting Council and that consultation took place in private because no such discussion ever took place in an open meeting.
Port Orange residents have been poorly served by government secrecy on far too many occasions over the past half dozen years and Manager Johansson should be seeking to expand confidence and transparency in his administration rather than stepping it backward his first month on the job.
Candidate for Mayor
City of Port Orange -2016