The City is making it harder for citizens to watch City Commission meetings, and they have yet to post the budget on the website. Citizens of Mt. Juliet should be asking “Why?”
It’s never a good sign when the government doesn’t want citizens to see what they are doing.
From 2002 until 2008, the City of Mt. Juliet regularly posted a streaming video recording of the last several City Commission meetings on its website. This had the advantage of making it easy for citizens to review the last several Commission meetings conveniently. But that practice has come to an end.
The last City Commission meeting available on the City website is from February of 2008. There have been five Commission meetings since the last one posted. None have been made available. And apparently, they won’t be made available on the website anymore. No explanation has been offered for the change in practice.
There is no state law or city ordinance that we are aware of that requires the video of Commission meetings to be posted… but the question remains as to why the practice was stopped.
Of course, the meetings are still being broadcast, and recorded. If you miss one (and you didn’t set your Tivo), you can stop by City Hall and fill out a formal request for a DVD recording of a Commission meeting. . . and pay $10.00 for the DVD. The new practice certainly doesn’t encourage citizens to keep up with what’s going on in city government. And it certainly runs counter to the trend at all other levels of city government which are finding newer and easier ways for citizens to be informed every week. Mt. Juliet seems to be going in the opposite direction.
Along with this reversal of trends, one has to also weigh the fact that the 2008-2009 budget still hasn’t been posted on the city website – though it was submitted by the City Manager to the Commission two weeks ago, on May 12th.
Passing a budget is arguably the most important thing the City Commission does each year. Why don’t they want the citizens to have access to the budget they are considering?
Citizens should also be asking, “Why don’t they want us to watch what they’re doing?
Citizens should also be asking, “Who made the decision NOT to make this information available to us anymore?”
“Was it the Mayor?” “Was it the City Commission?” “Was it the City Manager?”