Good Relations: Government openness appreciated 2013.12.31

“This isn’t for publication yet. I just want you to have some background information.”

Those are sweet words to a newspaper reporter and we hear it spoken often during the course of a year. They are good words to hear because they indicate a level of trust that’s developed between us and the government officials with whom we speak with during our coverage of area news.

Of course we don’t know everything that’s going on in our local schools and municipal governments—we only know what we’re told—but we feel quite comfortable in knowing that we’re told a lot. 

Morenci and Fayette schools both have fairly new superintendents and we’re impressed by the level of openness expressed by both, as we were with their predecessors. 

Morenci’s former mayor, Keith Pennington, did an excellent job of keeping the press informed, even when it wasn’t yet time to make something public. He always took the time to explain issues for the public at meetings even though council members were well aware of the situation from discussions at the committee level.

We hope the city’s new elected officials remain just as open and willing to share details of the community’s business. We’ve already heard our new administrator, Michael Sessions, talk about the need for transparency and feel assured he will follow the same path as his predecessor, Renée Schroeder.

Fayette’s administrator, Steve Blue, is always willing to answer any question asked and he makes us feel confident in his respect for openness. Fayette’s council, on the other hand, almost routinely meets in lengthy secret sessions and we hope they remain aware of Ohio’s Sunshine Laws.

We occasionally read about the difficulties people have obtaining information from local government sources and it makes us feel very fortunate to have the relationships that are in place here.

That’s what helps us do our job of letting readers know what’s going on in their communities.