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When Telling The Truth Can Cost You Your Job

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011

 The headline read "Hercules mayor to step down," but as my friend the editor says, the most important issue was buried in the story.

Yes, it is news when a mayor resigns, especially one who has been the subject of a recall for alleged unethical behavior. But what struck me as I read this news item was that an interim city manager in  Hercules was terminated shortly after he was hired "after posting a series of online status reports illustrating the city's deteriorating financial situation."

Wait - that is the kind of information the public should have. Charlie Long divulged that the Redevelopment Agency could not pay all of its obligations and the general fund was also short of money.

By hiding financial information, or trying to, the city council is feeding the type of distrust that made Bell, California a "poster city" of how not to make decisions.

While I am not privy to all that the council knew, on general principle I know that more disclosure is better, and that transparency in government is one of the best ways to restore public confidence.

Tags: budget deficits, City of Bell, Hercules California, public trust, transparency

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