Elect Sal DeRosalia Transparency in City Government

Transparency in City Government

The benefits of openness, transparency, and accountability within our city government are a well functioning City Hall and a happy constituency of Bainbridge Island. We the citizens act as overseers for our public officials and city government staff which includes the Bainbridge Island Police Department. The more a local government can provide in the way of transparency, the more it increases trust, honesty, and integrity in the government leaders it elects, appoints and hires. 

The majority of the city council’s decision making happens in open session but not many folks know what goes into making those decisions. When I began covering City Hall 3 years ago, it was to accomplish two goals. Bring transparency to what city council was doing while at the same time showing folks that the topics inside of City Hall mattered to them. 

In addition, the City of Bainbridge Island is in need of a major record keeping overhaul. How they collect, sort, store, and make information available to the public all needs to be modernized and made more accessible. 

By providing a well managed and easy to use system of record keeping, we will be able to provide a level of transparency to our residents which will elicit the trust needed for the Council to conduct good work on behalf of the people of Bainbridge Island. This is a big task but it will allow for a much higher level of service within our city government. 

Specific items the City can do to improve “Transparency in City Government” are:

  • Livestream and record all Council/Committee/Task Force meetings. 
  • Use more media outlets to communicate city business and happenings. 
  • Conduct a weekly press conference update w/questions to the City Manager.
  • Be more forthright about the topics being discussed in the Executive Sessions.
  • Upgrade the City’s website. It is not mobile friendly at all.
  • Hire a second staff member to assist with Public Records Act requests. 
  • Have council members receive a higher level of training regarding OPMA/Ethics.

With a new City Manager in place and 4 city council positions being voted on this November, this is the perfect time to lean into making transparency in our city government a priority. It will take time and resources but the benefit will be felt by all for years to come.

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