Transparency must be central

A Greenwood resident urges council to show some accountability when meeting for in-camera proceedings

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I don’t question the necessity for occasional in-camera meetings of local governing councils where sensitive or privacy issues may be of concern, but I suspect they may be overused.  There’s no way of knowing if that’s the case though, because they’re secret, and that makes them a pretty convenient way to get around the accountability issue that can be so inconvenient for some who govern in a democracy.

There is a solution. If minutes are taken at in-camera meetings (as they should be) and kept on record (as they also should be) then at some point, when the issues they were held to discuss are no longer considered sensitive, the records of those meetings should be made public. Just knowing that those records exist could have a sobering effect and reduce the possibility of rash and irresponsible decision-making.

Transparency is central to any democratic institution. The people we elect should not be having secret meetings, making secret decisions that effect the people who elected them. When you remove scrutiny from the decision-making process, accountability is gone; that’s why bank robbers wear masks.

Curtis Chamberlain,