News that an applicant for the job of city manager in Richmond Hill faces charges stemming from a 2011 traffic stop was something of a surprise to us. We suspect it came as a surprise to the folks at City Hall, as well.
What came as a pleasant surprise to us was the fact we got the names of the six candidates to pass along to readers; a positive step in keeping government open.
At times, getting information from the city could be an exercise in exasperation and reporters were sometimes berated simply for trying to do their job. It was not much fun. It’s good to know the new administration is interested in keeping the public informed about their city government.
In that regard, so far the new administration in Richmond Hill has been open and accessible.
Technically, according to state open records law, city officials could have withheld the names of the candidates for city manager until they had whittled the list down to the last three to make the cut.
Instead, the city provided names of the six candidates who had survived the initial group of 29 applicants. Not to overstate the matter, but we believe it was a case of government striking a blow for open government. For that, Richmond Hill officials deserve a pat on the back.
Whenever governments are open, it does make our job easier. When local governments opt for transparency, they show a respect for the constituency they are supposed to serve. You remember, those folks whose taxes pay the bill. That’s always the bottom line for a government, or it should be.
Having the government responsive to requests for information is also part of the deal, or it should be. That’s why we saw Richmond Hill’s release of candidates for city manager when they didn’t have to as a positive sign and a welcome development from a young administration that seems to be putting the public first.
It’s an action we respect.