RTAB meeting draws requests for more government transparency

By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers

The second Receivership Transition Advisory Board meeting Wednesday drew only three public comments, but the first focused on the need for a more transparent government.

After the RTAB officials approved the city council’s decisions for its last few meetings, with few concerns, residents had their chance to speak.

“There is a mistrust of government,” resident Brian Diebold said. “There is a lack of full disclosure. Questions aren’t answered, citizens are ignored.”

Diebold went on to address how the previous mayor and city administrator lied in regard to the failed Unity Studio project and cost the city millions.

“Again the residents have been deceived,” Diebold said. “There has been a deliberate attempt to keep information from us. We’re not villains out here. We’re taxpayers. We need truthfulness.”

Councilman Dennis Hayes said the citizens need, require and demand truthfulness and transparency. He addressed how a letter from a commercial real estate company dated Oct. 24, wasn’t brought to the council’s attention until two hours before a Dec. 2 special meeting, in regard to a purchase the council was discussing.

“That spelled out critical financial data,” Hayes said of the document.

RTAB board member Suzanne Schaefer then told Hayes his two minutes were up.

“I didn’t hear a buzzer,” Hayes said. “I want a buzzer like the last person.”

People in the audience agreed, Hayes didn’t receive his full two minutes.

Resident Ray Magussen spoke third.

“The city administrator sets the agenda,” Magussen said. “Where is the order that the city administrator sets the agenda?”

He said the city council should set the agenda.

“Those are our elected officials, elected by us,” Magussen said. “I would like to see our elected officials take over our city.”

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at tnims@bewickpublications.com.)