As I wrote earlier, about $80 million come into the City of Rowlett every year to run the city. Every dime of that money belongs to the citizens. Not one dime belongs to the Mayor, any of the City Council, none of the P&Z Commission, and not the City Manager, unless they are owed salaries. These people are elected, appointed by elected officials, or hired by city council. YOU elect the Mayor and City Council. When YOU elect the officials, you also grant them permission to spend YOUR $80 million a year as they see fit, so long as it's legal.
Reasons for running for office can span a pretty wide selection. Candidates for election can be motivated by an unbelievable thirst for photo ops and importance, a genuine desire to help their town, or any point in between. It's your job to sort out the ones that you feel best serve the city's needs.
Now, after you have an election and fill the required positions, and all have settled into running a city, communication becomes by far the most important function from that time forward. Responsibilities for good communication flow both ways. Citizens must be clear in communication with elected officials and vise versa. There are 57,000 citizens. I don't think that one has to be terribly bright to know there will be many different opinions that will be born out of 57,000 citizens. Some will be well founded and based on well researched and thought out issues. Some will be very bizarre, indeed, lacking any semblance of intelligent thought. Unfortunately, the loudest voice often gets the attention.
On the other hand, there are only 7 elected officials. That is a much more manageable size than 57,000. It should not be difficult for these 7 officials to prepare excellent communications for delivery to the citizenry. It doesn't matter that they may not all agree. It matters that they communicate clearly, either collectively or separately. These elected officials are held to a higher standard than the citizenry. That is because it is easier for them to formulate thoughts, vote their convictions, and report their reasons for their vote. They shouldn't create "noise." They are charged with delivering accurate information. That is the job they promised to perform, and was elected to perform. There can be no debate on this issue. For citizens to allow anything other than clear communication is the same as granting permission to deceive, manipulate, and hoodwink the public.
There are some exceptions. Some sensitive discussions should be held with the city attorney when certain legal issues are best not made public. For example, some business dealings might betray a trust if made public. However, under no circumstance should the private meeting with legal council be used to hide legitimate discussions of zoning, market influences, and certainly not with consultants that should not be invited into private legal conversations, anyway. I was furious when our Rowlett 2020 consultants, who did not even live in Rowlett, gave "testimony" behind closed doors. Even our own citizens weren't allowed. There was absolutely nothing that they should have discussed that did not belong to public ears. That behavior was disgraceful and I think downright illegal. Anyone who was a party to that arrangement should be recalled or fired.
Now, as disjointed, bizarre, unfounded, un-researched as public opinion can be as it goes forward to elected officials unedited, "Officialdom" should expect that. That's the way America works. That's one of the burdens elected officials have. On the other hand, elected officials don't enjoy that same luxury. They owe we of the unwashed precise information and the rationale of their actions. They may not all agree with each other and their opinion may differ considerably with their constituency, however they owe the citizens clear communication.
There is no shame in standing up and telling what and why an opinion is different than other council members or the citizens. That's the right and duty the citizens conveyed to elected officials. However, it is quite shameful to report anything to the public with the intent to deceive, misinform, or mislead anyone regarding the facts of the issue. Sadly, I think it goes on. I think the infection started several years ago and it became comfortable to some. Think 380 Grants. It needs to go. I think we just became lazy.
I think each must demand the respect of the other. However, it takes a little work and clear thinking.......from both sides.
It's my opinion that information that should be reported by elected officials is subpar. On the plus side, proper reporting may reveal excellence that no one knows about. I know efforts are made, but I think the policy and procedure needs to be re-thought. There is no shame in fixing what's broke. There is shame in not fixing it.