Wendy Koenig

Transparency. An oft mentioned word. Describing an essential element of meaningful relationships. The foundation for conducting business. A fundamental principal of news reporting. And, according to Christopher Salem, a business process and emotional intelligence strategist, a key to productivity in each.

As your mayor, I seek to be transparent in my affairs and ask others to do so in theirs. I’m serious about transparency because, as Salem’s work confirms, transparency fosters productivity. And when I and others who represent the people of Estes are transparent and productive, we do the townspeople’s work.

Transparency must walk a razor’s edge. Its goodness and productivity a mere misstep from bad. Where reporter, in the name of transparency with an obsessive belief there’s more to a statement, proposal or action—a story behind the story—put things on a dead end path. But, finding nothing nefarious going on remains silent. Letting things sit rather than responsibly reporting it as a simple, transparent, and non- scandalous piece of news.

News reporters employ certain practices—sometimes in the name of transparency—that can waste precious cycles and reduce productivity. Asking an official about a question a transparent action (cancelling fireworks) with intent to malign that action after the fact. Or a question, for which the goal isn’t a straight-up answer. Or ending a news story with a wisp of editorial insight about something possibly happening behind the scenes. Practices that set the stage for more questions. Another article. More sales. Additional advertisements. Innuendo and gotcha fueled practices meant to cast doubt on well- meaning people that in turn gum up productivity.

For the town government of the people of Estes, transparency is readily apparent. Participation in the matters of their town is a right. Their board of trustees make decisions and take actions in a transparent manner. When decisions and actions aren’t clear, staff and townspeople transparently request clarification. All of which enable staff to transparently deliver end-products. Each a newsworthy event.

Typically, a factory model measures labor time products manufactured determining productivity. For Estes’, with the number of government, the product is not an item. It’s a process that produces specific results for townspeople. It involves public meetings, outreach in neighborhoods, task forces, committees, forums, surveys, and so on. Reach-out approaches for transparently engaging townspeople and informing actions and decisions of their elected officials and staff. Each an example of how transparency and engagement foster greater productivity for Estes.

Achieving common good, rarely equates to 100% acceptance. Transparent processes of public input, are often messy. Opinions differ. As do motivations, needs, and desires. Fortunately, civil discourse, invariably morphs into action plans that reflect the collective desires of the people of Estes.

Any after-the-fact news story questioning the product of a transparent process disrespects townspeople, diminishes their product, undermines its implementation, and disrupts the overall productivity of Estes. Bad news is bad for Estes.

People of Estes, keep participating in your town government. Continue engaging town board members, staff, task force and committee members. Watch bi-weekly meetings, read reports, and volunteer. Your participation, turns transparency into productivity that moves Estes forward. Each a news story I look forward to reading.

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