I’m so old that I used to watch for the postman.
E-mail isn’t quite the same; nonetheless, when Mondays roll around the anticipatory spinal tingling begins, because there’ll be a Board of Public Works and Safety agenda and meeting minutes package right there, in my inbox, ready to peruse in case I decide to risk my rapidly evaporating sanity and attend the gathering in person at 10:00 a.m, on Tuesday morning, when most folks are at work.
Except this week, as of 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, there has been no mailing, an omission that has me scratching my head, as this morning’s meeting supposedly will be about … ya know, something really important … say what?
They probably don’t want me telling you what the meeting will be about, assuming that’s actually what it’s about, although all such hints have been conveyed by nods and winks, which as we know are equal in the eyes of a blind horse.
Whatever. It’s probably just a coincidental oversight, because the clerk’s usually right on top of these things, and so instead of a Bored of Works meeting agenda, enjoy these two photos posted to Facebook by former city councilman Kevin Zurschmiede. Apparently the derelict property is near our re-emerging White Castle.
What interests me about this post is the active participation of councilman Al Knable, both here and during other social media threads. The post hadn’t been up for very long before CM Knable began asking and answering questions, concluding with this comment:
Neither owner occupied nor rental properties should exist in this manner. I notified code enforcement officers of the issue earlier today immediately after it was brought to my attention. Let’s give the officers time to do their work.
This pro-active style seems fitting and proper for a city official, either elected or appointed, and points to a genuinely productive use of social media. It’s almost a two-way street, in terms of communication.
However, I’m compelled to contrast Knable’s helpful tone with that of another city official, at an entirely different yet similar thread elsewhere on social media, in which the Upper Spring Street road diet was being vigorously debated, both pro and con.
I tagged the official in the hope that he’d appreciate viewing some of the concerns being discussed by citizens, seeing as some of them might be voters (gasp), and while he provided a good answer, it was prefaced with this:
Dude: Excuse me, but why not?
Aren’t you being paid to be involved with legitimate questions about a city project in your bailiwick?
In a nutshell, isn’t a grudging attitude like this the single biggest issue with Team Gahan as a whole? The “communications” director isn’t available on social media platforms, and the city’s content is generated by a contractor.
Just imagine using social media to inform and educate — to display a quality remotely approximating responsiveness to rate payers — rather than posting rote testimonials to the Dear Leader’s unerring genius?
Verily, an institutionalized and ongoing absence of transparency remains Jeff Gahan’s biggest problem as mayor. Now it’s 7:30 a.m., and still no agenda, which means I’ll have to attend the meeting. Fortunately, being unemployed, I can do that, and report back later today.