All People Welcome to this blog from anywhere at anytime Let’s Talk
We know that our small town or city government is organized of course. They have meetings and discussions regularly. We know that our democracy is “for the people, by the people”. The “by the people” part of this equation has become challenged. It appears that this has been changing to “by the Selectmen, for the Selectmen”. They are ruling the towns across the nation. Ruling, not serving. The people in my little town have a blend of unconditional trust and fear of the town officials and don’t the selectmen know this. They vote on increases in utilities and taxes and contract projects that seem to just pop up out of nowhere. They have meetings to vote these items in that no one knows or is informed about. If you do happen to find about one and attend, you are likely to not get heard or should you ask questions, they will either avoid them altogether or answer in a vague and deceptive way. In our little town the Selectboard and the town clerk have been in office for 20 years and are very skilled in keeping the public out of the picture while they do exactly as they want.
One of my first experiences in a select board meeting, I was speaking out which turned out to a heated debate over an issue with a selectman. In general this is pretty normal in government we see our legislators at it all the time on video. When the meeting ended while I was heading home, a resident stopped me and remarked on the debate I had at the meeting. He said “You better watch what you are doing you will get arrested” Incredible! Incredible! My towns people fear the selectmen to the point of being in fear of speaking out in an opening meeting!!! Like North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Libya. The selectmen are not serving the public, they are ruling with an iron hand. It is commonly discussed in my town of the intimidation that the selectboard use at meetings. The attendance at these meetings as you might expect is minimal leaving the Selectboard to do as they please.
In 2014 our Federal and State government has amended two laws The “Open Meeting Law” and “The “Public Records Act”. These amendments put in place to help balance the peoples rights in our democracy of which has been attacked by local governments Select Boards in particular who have chosen to rule instead of serve the people.
This blog a place for the People to meet and discuss, ask questions about and how to use these laws to better their local governments. Laws in themselves do not make change, there has to be an awareness of these laws, compliance and action taken for non compliance.
Although this website originally created for the tiny town of Newport Center VT I invite anyone from anywhere to participate. Although the laws vary slightly from state to state they are basically the same created for the same reason.. to have a more transparent government to give back to the the people … for the people, by the people.
Let the people meet and talk. Lets look at these new laws there will be plenty of resources right here and hopefully a lot of discussion of the experiences of citizens experiences, frustrations, advice, opinion