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Originally published: 2013-09-30 10:52:24
Last modified: 2013-09-30 10:53:08

Definition of transparency?

The Boone Water Use Committee meeting Wednesday was an eye opener if you have night vision and can see in the dark. It became apparent from the discussion that WUC members, other than the town council and town staff, have not been given much more information than has been spoon-fed to the public. 

I commend those members starting to challenge and ask for fact-based information on the intake. With more facts and information comes better visibility. Tough questions are starting to be asked by WUC members. The closed session mentality of the town can only raise the question again: "What do you have to hide?" The complete lack of openness, transparency and a truly public process has been exposed as a false claim.

Councilwoman Lynn Mason once again tried to justify this project by repeating the same old talking points from the town's studies, presentations and environmental assessment, all of which have been shown, in my opinion, to have inaccuracies and misleading information. She added nothing new to the discussion and answered no one's questions. She also went on to say that the decision for this particular site was made to meet the water needs of the town, and in my notes from the meeting, to expand the water supply for the community.
 
Since when did Boone become the regional water authority for the community? Is that the real reason for the town's inflated "need" of 4 million gallons per day from this historic river? She was correct in one statement: There is much misinformation out there about the project and the great majority, in my opinion, is coming from the town.

One committee member described the vague nature and responses as "problematic." Another wanted to know why questions were being answered with questions. In discussing "hurdles" facing the project and need of a time line and plan for dealing with these, the utilities director responded it was "not going to be anytime soon." That's definitive ... anytime soon ... OK ... I've got it! He went on to say that he was "not sure if we can discuss the hurdles."

Why not? The short answer was that it would make his job of negotiating more difficult if the obstacles were made public.

Let me see. You do not want to make the job of negotiating more difficult, and the way you do that is to keep the citizens you are negotiating with in the dark. Is that the town's definition of transparency?

 Leaders and effective managers would have a Plan B. Eight years later and there is none. It appears that council and staff are riding this speeding train until the great train wreck ... a costly one to the taxpayers of Boone.

 
Frank Packard
Todd