Four years after becoming incorporated the city has not proven to the citizens of Maricopa that they are managing the city well, particularly when it comes to this notion of transparency. The majority of the citizen concerns are driven by the lack of transparency being demonstrated by our local government, which has caused confidence in our government to decline. Concerns regarding the open meeting laws have been brought forth and ignored on many occasions. Time after time information is being held hostage with no warranted reason, but the end result is speculation, suspicion and continued lack of trust in our government. Government business should never be done in a manner that deliberately prevents openness or creates a strong perception of one.
This would be a good starting place for the city to restore trust between themselves and the citizens. A change in how the city views transparency would yield big rewards. By creating this cloud of secrecy the city is doing a disservice to the citizens of Maricopa and damaging the culture of the city. Instead of attacking the media and becoming angry with the citizens, the city could try beating speculation to the punch by pro-actively communicating where the city stands on issues. The media are not going away nor are the voice of the citizens so let’s look for ways to work together. A great leader once said, “One person can make a difference and everyone should try.” It’s a simple statement, but one that can began to bring down barriers.
As I have stated in the past, public confidence in City government will increase if we have a City government that is committed to informing and involving its people, which values and welcomes public input and volunteer involvement. Our greatest strength is our people. Informing and empowering the people to take action on critical decisions, problems, and opportunities facing our city and neighborhoods will prove more beneficial to both the citizens of Maricopa and to the city. So rather than holding our government hostage lets acknowledge that a change in what has become the norm needs to take place and that it is never too late to rebuild and restore. Further, let’s have a government that is truly open and transparent because this is the way government was designed to be.