Monday, March 26, 2007

Alderman Thiel Wants Secret Government

Only citizens seem to care very much about open government records and meetings. Elected officials may give lip service to the Freedom of Information Act, but their actions reveal their real inclination for secret government that prevents voters from evaluating their deeds.

Ward 1 Alderman Brenda Thiel wants the Fayetteville City Council to meet in secret session to discuss appointments to the Planning Commission. Could it be so that the public doesn't get to see who is supporting Alderman Rhodes and the developers' plan to remove those commissioners who won't cave in to their demands? They have already approved the reappointment of a commercial real estate agent to the Planning Commission, but that is not enough for them.

City Attorney Kit Williams knows the reason for Alderman Thiel's proposal for secret meetings. He said "The reason for it is to make sure aldermen can speak very freely without any possible embarrassment." Embarrassment by what? Caving in to the developers' lobby? Firing dedicated Commissioners? Yes, that might be embarrassing. Rather than having the courage to do the right thing and be held accountable by the people who elected her, Alderman Thiel wants to do her shameful deeds in secret meetings. The voters who care about open government will remember that when she runs for re-election next year.

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