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April 6, 2020
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Develop a Culture of Openness

Published Feb. 19, 2020

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As we approach Day 100 of the town administration, it’s critical that residents continue to request that transparency, accountability, and quality of life be exercised in local government decision-making. With more than 41 percent of local registered Republican, Democrat, and unaffiliated voters participating in the fall election, East Haven was one of the Connecticut towns with the highest voter turnout.

Remember those full-page ads in the East Haven Courier during the election cycle? The same concerns that voters had before the election continue: quality of life, education, budget, development, airport, etc. Without a proper communication and transition plan, there has been misinformation, favoritism, and questionable circles of influence. To develop a culture of openness, we need proper channels of communication, a sound budget, access to employment opportunities, proactive disclosures, and improvements to community services by using technology to cut down on costs and time barriers.

Town Council meetings with public comment provide a small way for the public to engage in dialogue; however, there have been no public comment for the last two months. There have been no town hall meetings. Now, there is an audit highlighting a $1.15 million budget deficit that will snowball into current year and impact the 2020-’21 budget cycle. Transparency happens when the monthly revenue and expenses can be accessed by the public. I urge elected officials to expand their reach with constituents, to be inclusive, to represent the voiceless. Trust, honesty, and integrity are still values that the majority holds highly regardless of party affiliation. Officials can follow along in the Facebook group “East Haven Politics.” Right now, residents can call, email, write a letter to the editor, or complete a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain public records. Politics and time never stop, but elected terms do.

Lorena Venegas
East Haven