Let the sunshine in
Each March, beyond basketball’s March Madness, is Sunshine Week, “ a national celebration of the citizen's right to know about government,” as posted on the New England First Amendment Coalition website. Its goal, as nefac.org notes, is to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.”
The timing of this year’s Sunshine Week, March 10 through 16, coincides with the publishing in the March 7 Milton Times of the salaries of the town’s top public service employees.
We believe Milton residents and readers and by extension, those who read the newspaper online from points beyond Norfolk County, can handle this information. Yes, to paraphrase the movie with a more positive affirmation, you can handle the truth.
It is key to note, with this nod to Sunshine Week, that town officials provided the information for this report, part of a transparent, open government. It also is important to note that the salaries and the salaries of those who also receive overtime pay were listed in two charts. This gives a clearer picture of what public employees are allowed to earn overtime pay and what public employees are not allowed to do so.
This information is not to embarrass any civil or public servant. It is to allow the public – the town’s taxpayers – where and how their money is spent. To be sure, working in the public sector requires a greater scrutiny for employees than does a private sector employee.
In other matters of town government, plus legal matters, it is important that residents of a community know what is going on in their town. From the police log to legal expenses paid by the town to research a civil or criminal issue, people, namely Milton residents, deserve to know who is watching out for their best interests.
Further, regarding open government, candidates for the April 30 town-wide election and Town Meeting member elections have until April 5 to submit a written profile of why they seek elected office. Please keep the word count under 500 words, preferably between 350 and 375 words. A headshot photo of yourself in color or black and white is appreciated.
Include why you want to run for office, and what you would bring to the table, skills-wise. A bit about your personal and professional background is helpful.
The sooner a candidate can get his or her profile to me at email@example.com, the better. The deadline is April 5 for the last date of publication in the April 11 print and online publication. No candidate profiles for any elected office will be published after April 11 because it is too close to the election. Time needs to be allowed for any corrections, if necessary. Only paid political advertisements will be published after April 11 in the April 18 and 25 publications.
Lisa D. Connell