DANIELLE BOSTICK

Democracy is predicated on citizen engagement, which is impossible without transparent government. A reason I am running for mayor of Winchester is to increase transparency in our local government.

Transparency is not an abstract concept in Winchester. There are concrete ways our local government can facilitate transparency, starting with the repeal of the seven-page Standards of Decorum the current mayor has touted as a primary accomplishment. Simply put, these standards obstruct engagement and exploit City Council as the city’s public relations arm.

Here are a few highlights from the new standards that regulate our representatives on council:

1. Do not speak negatively about the city.

2. Ensure that information concerning the property, government or affairs of the City is held confidential, disclosed only with proper legal authorization, and never to advance the financial or other special interest of themselves or others.

3. Forward citizen complaints to the City Manager.

4. Practice civility.

5. Council members will frequently be asked to explain a council action or to give their opinion about an issue as they meet and talk with constituents in the community or the media. It is appropriate to give a brief overview of city policy and to refer to city staff for further information.

Council members who fail to follow these standards “may be subject to admonition, reprimand or censure.” We deserve honest, timely engagement from our elected officials. It should not take a security clearance to share or receive information about the city whose services we finance with our tax dollars and on which we depend for our quality of life and safety. It is not the job of elected officials to make the city look good and cover for its failures. It is the city’s job to BE good. That involves honest, direct communication and robust engagement with citizens.

It is problematic for power-entities to invoke civility. There is a wide body of research about the ways organizations leverage “civility” to maintain the status quo and silence dissent. Reminders about civility have even extended to public comments during council meetings. We live in a city where the truck that responds to your emergency arrives with just the driver on board over 70% of the time. What is more important? Firefighters’ tone when they speak to council or their urgent warning about a public safety crisis? What the city might label “incivility” can be a strong indicator that the status quo is not working for everyone. The city should be able to hear important feedback without shifting focus from the problem to the way concerns about the problem are conveyed.

I am not running for head of Winchester Public Relations. I do not aspire to make the city look good. I am running for mayor. I plan to represent the people who live here.

Danielle Bostick is running for Winchester mayor in the Nov. 3 election as a Republican.

(6) comments

shinyhappypeople

The list of tried and true conservative Republicans (including the prior Republican President himself) NOT supporting Trump grows more and more bigly with each passing day. Most former members of Trumps team who have seen it all up close and personally are not supporting him, either. You may want to Journey beyond Gore mountains and read up on the defection that is spreading faster than Covid in the deep South.

Great letter, Miss Bostick! I wonder what teeth this proclamation has though...“reprimand and censure” sounds like moralizing snd finger-wagging, but not removal or replacing council members for “violations”??? Either way bravo for caring and getting involved!

Journey2goremtns1

Ms. Bostick do you support our President? If you do not your not a Republican.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Is absolute loyalty required of party members? Why are there so many GOP candidates who are distancing themselves from the Dear Leader?

Doc Samson

@Journey - Gotta say I'm not too concerned. How many Repubs actually act like it? Not many. Trump isn't really a Repub, even though he ran under their banner. If Mrs. Bostick is willing to bring more transparency and is concerned about more than just "keeping up appearances", how can it be anything but an improvement?

Conservative

News flash, Trump isn't a Republican. He won the Republican nomination, but he's not a Republican.

Spock Here

You seem to be the only one who understands he's not a republican. Nor is he conservative by any means.

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