Just My Opinion – No More Excuses
The Swanton Village Council recently voted unanimously to approve the Village’s Live Stream Policy, after it was reviewed and modified by their solicitor Ken Murphree, of the Heban, Murphree and Lewandowski Law Firm. With that decision, the Council members are putting in place the most vital tool available designed to bring transparency and accountability to the Village of Swanton’s elected and appointed officials.
Soon, when the audio and visual recording equipment arrives and is installed, anyone with access to Facebook will have the opportunity to view the proceedings of the Swanton Village Council, Planning Commission, Tree Commission or any other special meeting or newly created commission. These proceedings can be watched in real time or at the convenience of the viewer, on a computer, tablet or phone and will have a 12-month expiration date.
We have all heard over the years from people who just become aware of an action taken by local government comments such as “I hadn’t heard that” or “When did that happen?” or, my favorite, “Nobody told me”. Even better, “Why didn’t somebody let me know?” While I do not expect those comments to disappear, I would hope to hear them less and less as the citizenry becomes more knowledgeable of the information resources available today. And there are a lot of them, well beyond actually attending a meeting in person.
I have to give a lot of credit to Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle who, in her five years on the job, has greatly improved and increased communication and access to information on what is going on in the Village with respect to how local government decisions are or will be impacting the lives of Swanton’s residents and business owners. She created a quarterly newsletter called the Village Voice, upgraded the Village’s Facebook page, enhanced the Village’s website by adding more information and making it more user friendly and often alerts residents to important and/or sudden events through internet postings. Ms. Hoelzle also consistently encourages anyone with questions to call the Village Offices at 419-826-9515 or email Village officials.
Other good sources of information include the local periodicals such as the Swanton Enterprise/Fulton County Expositor, the Toledo Blade and the Village Reporter. Local Facebook pages are another information source but are not the most reliable and should be verified before believing what is posted.
I must also include my Blog/Website, fultoncountymedia.com, as a supplemental source of information. The articles I write are based on facts as I know them. The editorials I write are my opinions on the facts as I understand them and what impact I believe they have on our community. But even with my blog, I encourage you to check further.
The point is this. If anyone wants to be informed about what the Swanton’s political leaders are doing for their constituents and if the administration is managing the day-to-day operations of the Village in a fiscally responsible manner, it takes a very small amount of effort on the part of the individual. When live streaming of the meetings begins, there will be virtually no reasonable excuse for anyone not to be informed of how they are being governed and how their tax dollars are being spent. Then, more than ever, being uninformed will be a choice.