What’s going on in Auburn?
Certain City Councilors don’t like the fact that City Manager Glenn Aho writes a weekly memo and distributes it to the public. It’s just too much information to share with the public.
Aho writes the memo on Saturday and delivers it, by e-mail, to councilors and local media on Sunday. The memos are not page-turners, by any means, but do offer updates on city programs and spending and provide some background information about all kinds of city services, such as plowing.
Councilors complain that they don’t have time to read the memo between its delivery on Sunday and when it is published in the local weekly on Thursday. So, because councilors don’t read their mail the public will be deprived of these informative updates?
A vigorous jeer to the complaining councilors.
Aho and councilors will schedule a workshop to discuss the memos and Aho said he might resume writing after that meeting, but is this really something the city needs to take time to talk about? Isn’t it just plain common sense and good government to provide information to the public?
Aho is not publishing city secrets. He’s providing solid, informative summaries of ongoing city business. That’s the public’s business and it’s just plain odd that any public official would object to engaging citizens in their government.
Cheers to interim Maine Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills.
On the job less than a week, he’s already saved $19,000 by cancelling the Authority’s annual employee recognition banquet usually held in May.
It’s a disappointment for employees, but good news for customers.
And, it’s the proper thing to do.
In announcing his decision, Mills said the Authority is “going to have to live in a different financial atmosphere. We have to be much more careful about how our revenues are spent.”
This is a very different attitude than that exhibited by former Executive Director Paul Violette, who resigned amid legislative scrutiny about how he handled MTA finances.
Mills’ penny-pinching philosophy is refreshing and the motoring public appreciates it.
In the 4-year period between 2005 and 2009, the MTA spent $222,000 to recognize employees with meals and gifts. That’s about $115 per employee per year.
It’s not much, but it is 65 trips through the New Gloucester toll booth.
So, MTA employees don’t get a recognition banquet this year, but the trade-off is a solid bit of public appreciation and thanks. It’s not money, but favorable public opinion is pretty valuable.
Cheers to the Legislature – both chambers – for voting to uphold Maine’s mandatory seat belt law.
The vote was 91-51 in the House; 18-16 in the Senate to reject a proposal to unravel a recent change to the law that made failure to wear a belt a primary offense instead of the more passive secondary offensive.
By rejecting the proposal and maintaining the current law to buckle up, legislators can be sure they have spared people serious injuries and saved lives.
The collective vote to require seat belts was a true public service.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.