This week, we asked the candidates:
- If you could leave one indelible policy mark on Dunedin, what would it be?
Bob Hackworth responds:
If there is one thing I’ve always stood for and one thing I’ll continue to champion if elected to serve as your mayor again, it’s good government. Government that is open, transparent and accountable to the people it represents. Every Dunedin resident deserves to have his or her voice heard on policy issues vital to their safety and quality of life; it is the mayor’s job to ensure our elected city commission fulfills that duty.
Unfortunately, in the four years since I left office there have been too many concerns expressed about instances of the people’s business being conducted behind closed, or at best half-open, doors. Even if this is only a perception and not the reality we must eliminate the perception and restore trust. In some instances, access to critical public records has been denied, due to “lost” documents. In other cases all discussion has been squelched; the mayor and commissioners were advised that their or even at all. In most cases, I’ll reject that advice—if elected officials were to decline to discuss public issues in public because of fears a lawsuit "might" be filed, then NOTHING from zoning, to land use, to taxes, to elections, to vendor contracts, to development projects could ever be the subject of a public discussion in Dunedin.
This is not how representative government should work. Open government means that everyone has the right to reasonable access to their elected officials and is entitled to a response to all reasonable inquiries.
Transparent government means that all official communications, including emails, are made available upon request. I’ll work to put into operation a new system to make and available instantly online to the public and the media.
Accountable government means that it’s my job as an elected official to explain my policy decisions to you and to be held responsible for the results of their implementation, come what may. And no issue, however contentious or controversial, should be avoided or deflected due to a reluctance to lead, to take a stand. That’s not good government.
The people’s business should always be conducted “in the sunshine.” If I’m elected again as your mayor there will be no ducking that imperative.
Editor's Note: No charges have been filed on any accusations of misconduct regarding the current commission and Florida Sunshine Laws.
See Also, Dave Eggers' response.
- Bob Hackworth Wants to Budget More for Public Safety
- Patch Podium: Bob Hackworth on Spurring Development
- Bob Hackworth on the Patch Podium: Quality of Life
- Bob Hackworth on the Patch Podium: Experience
- Bob Hackworth Has 'Passion for Good Government'