Johnson City Press Thursday, July 24, 2014
Opinion

Citizens' voice

May 2nd, 2014 9:30 am by MATTHEW MORRIS

Citizens' voice

What is needed now more than ever in our Washington County Commission is transparency. Washington County citizens deserve to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.
One of the main reasons the commission got away with voting to keep their own full-time health care benefits (even though they aren’t full-time county employees) is because the people do not know who their commissioners are, much less what they do or vote on.
I know the agenda packet for meetings is posted online, but what about the person who has no access to a computer, or doesn’t have to time to decipher two to 300 pages of information to figure out what affects them?
The local news organizations do a great job covering what happens at the commission meetings, but shouldn’t the people have a clear picture of what is getting voted on and a chance to have their voice heard before votes are cast?
There is a solution. As county commissioner, one of my goals is to begin a monthly town hall meeting where commissioners will have an open forum with citizens of Washington County. Voters will be able to voice concerns on any issues they feel are important. These would be held in the communities, Ruritan clubs, fire departments or other locations that would like to host. Announcements of time and place can be posted in local papers and through different online resources prior to the meeting.
These town hall meetings will bring transparency to our county that is essential for growth, job creation and trust between the people of Washington County and their elected officials. I look forward to leading this effort as your elected commissioner to represent the people of District 8 and Washington County.
It’s time to bring the government back to the people.
MATTHEW MORRIS
Telford

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