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ARCHER: Holding government leaders accountable

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July 11, 2014 - 6:32 AM

Government bodies get a bad rap when it comes to spending money, and sometimes the facts prove our tax dollars are not being well spent. But when government officials show us what's in their pockets, it becomes easier for the public to trust their leaders and the decisions they make on behalf of the community.

Penticton city councillors are already leaders on that score and are taking more steps to become more transparent and accountable.

They already make an effort to keep the doors of communication open with citizens. Mayor Garry Litke hosts a Brown Bag Lunch every other week where residents can come to City Hall and discuss concerns, ideas or share stories with the man in charge. And council is one of few in the Thompson-Okanagan to take questions every meeting from the public and reporters. 

Now council is looking at publicly posting expenditures every quarter, rather than just once a year. This idea came from Coun. Helena Konanz who said it just makes more sense to do it this way. Councillors will have an easier time answering public and media questions about their expenses and it helps to build trust with the community.

Our provincial MLAs could take a lesson or two. As of 2012, B.C. MLA representatives are required to disclose salary, office and travel expenses online to the public on a quarterly basis. While they were providing dollar amounts, there wasn’t much detail provided, and it was hard to tell how and where money was being spent. MLAs now have to provide receipts for their expenses, holding them even more accountable to B.C. residents for spending public dollars on conferences, travel and hopefully other beneficial (to the public) things.

It is important to note when our city leaders are doing a good job and stepping up. It’s easier for the public to trust them if they hold themselves accountable for their actions, good and bad. And there is no better way to do that than to be transparent and provide opportunities for questions and answers.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Meaghan Archer at marcher@infotelnews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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