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In Your Opinion: Public Needs To Participate In Township Governance

By Bill Connell, Somerset.

Long ago I was a young professional, talking to my Father about work. In an effort to show him how smart I was I irritated him. He said “Listen you little p%$&k, when you are done playing games I will show you how it’s really done.”   Sadly he passed away within weeks of this remark but it has always been in the back of my mind. You can always know more.

This thought was in the back of my mind when watching the Republican candidates being interviewed on the Franklin Reporter & Advocate News Hour.  This is not an insult, its just a fact. They all have motives to run for office but if per chance they win, what they experience will be totally different than what they are confident about today.  I have concluded that Township Council is the last stop on the political food chain where party does not matter. Who you are, your background and how you conduct yourself matter more. The best current example is Mayor Kramer. Two years ago, if asked, he might say making sure the Animal Shelter is properly funded is a major goal, but he had no idea he would become the Covid Yoda of Franklin. His personality, background, and personal compassion made this an easy adjustment.   

This was all proven out when watching the Democrats be interviewed on the FR&A News Hour.  FRA did an excellent job tailoring the questions to the specific Wards. There were a few cringeworthy moments but the interviews revealed the evolution of understanding these people have gone through. 

Every four years we get to do a gut check on how things are going.  Democrats and Republicans have to defend why they exist, but the public can’t just show up every four years. It is a constant thing.  I have said in this in this space before. Committee agendas are posted on the town website. On lot of topics, you can watch decisions be vetted and trickle up to a Township Council decision or vote. I have witnessed public participation redefine these discussions. I have had my fun at public meetings but all that really matters is the content of my words. Zoom meetings allow you to do that and you don’t have to get in your car.  When things reopen I would like to see If calling in can be saved.

I would agree there are questions to be asked and challenges to be made, that is how our forefathers set up the system. Yet, I don’t think transparency is the main issue, public participation is. It’s all there, you just need to follow it.

Your Thoughts

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