I live in a small town, as I have mentioned before. Like most cities and towns around the country, budgets are tight and public employees are facing the crisis as hard, if not harder, than the private sector. Now, stay with me for a second as I am looking to make a point beyond the back-room politics that are taking place in one small town.
- The teachers in town have not had a contract in two years, nor a raise. The lack of contract is a big issue, the lack of raises in this economy is not.
- To save the town money the teachers switched from one health insurance to another, saving the town approximately $700,000.
- The Superintendent is one of the highest paid in the state of Massachusetts. He, and now many of the Principals working for him, were just given raises by the School Committee.
- The School Committee will only give the teachers a contract with a four year of 0% raises.
- The School Committee and the Teachers are using a mediator in their attempt to reach a contract. When asked about the school budget, the negotiator was informed that all questions must be received one week prior to the next meeting and only those questions will be discussed.
While I am personally annoyed by the petty politics in Winthrop, Massachusetts, and I feel that ethical lines are being crossed, lets step back for a second. Voters, town citizens, are not up in arms shouting to learn more, to get to the bottom of issues. Transparency, and other government 2.0 benefits, are not on the average citizen’s mind. When citizens and local governments are not seeking change is there any problem afterall?
What do you think? Is transparency really needed when no one is asking for it?