In Your Opinion: Franklin, Let’s Have Coffee

By Bill Connell, Somerset.

I have concluded that people think in order to understand government, you have to be involved in government. In this digital age, that is not true. Let me introduce you to my little friend, the Sunshine Law.

Most government action, especially local government, is well-documented.  That is either the Township or the Board of Education. Over a cup of coffee you can peruse the town Web site and the board Web site and get the issues of the day. Even if you don’t care, they can be like an archeological dig of issues of the day.  The truly motivated will drill into the committee minutes to see the issues they are discussing.  People need to understand that the Township Council or the elected school board is really the last stop on the train.  If the issue is brought to this level, it is usually hinted at in the committee minutes.

It is my opinion that what most people don’t understand is when they complain to the elected official, it is at the end of a long process that many people have invested time in. If you do not peek in to the Web site or you ignore a survey, that is bad.  People have to make decisions.  Your elected officials have to make decisions.

It is far more useful to inject your opinion in the planning stage than at the last minute.

I am not saying that at the local level there are not games and power plays, but I can tell you most of the time it is about communication.  If you do not communicate with your local officials, how can you complain about them not communicating with you?

I have been to too many meetings where people complain about government but they do not acknowledge they just did not do their homework.

My advice to Franklin Township is to have a cup of coffee once a week, review the town and board websites.   A lot of people work hard to make sure the information is there. It’s the law, The Sunshine Law.

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