Information always serves the public good


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We fully understand the village's reasons for rejecting our recent Freedom of Information Act request (or, as we like to call it, miniature subpeona), for the recently completed Roos building appraisals. Really, we do.

We understand the chaos that can ensue when a newspaper doesn't get all the facts, and, as a result, village hall is bombarded with angry phone calls from people who only know half the story.

We agree with Mayor Calderone and the village that avoiding confusion is always a good idea. We just like to do it in a different way, namely by writing fleshed-out, factual stories rather than withholding information.

If the village had been willing to release the results of the appraisals, or if it changes its mind in the future, we would be glad to spend as much time as necessary reviewing our facts with the appropriate officials to ensure that we got everything right.

It's a win-win situation: the citizens know where their tax money is going, and the village is able to ensure that they get accurate information from a credible source rather than the rumor mill.

While some members of the public might appreciate the village's help in avoiding confusion, it is our suspicion that most taxpayers would rather know the results of the appraisal they paid for and the status of a major property acquisition that they would be funding.

Perhaps we're wrong, and we encourage any of our readers who like to be kept in the dark about where their money is going to write a letter explaining why.

Village Administrator Michael Sturino suggested that if the information were released and the project's terms negotiated in the press, residents might end up paying more for the project.

Please let us know if you are not willing to take that risk.

We have a feeling our mailbag won't be any heavier than normal next week because many people know that an open, public process usually results in lower costs.

When it comes to serving the public good, we are of the opinion that information beats ignorance any day of the week.

Maybe it's not all politics after all

We don't know, and probably never will, whether the decision not to hire Paul Burris as Public Works director was the result of a political stunt or a legitimate grievance with the hiring process.

Maybe commissioners Doolin and Steinbach, who work with Bob Kutak every day, knew something that the others did not about his qualifications. Maybe the rest of the council wanted to save taxpayers money by not adding an unnecessary employee to the payroll.

Most likely, both sides have some valid points. There's a reason the council votes 3-2 so often, and it's not that farfetched to consider the possibility that Monday's vote was actually the result of a real ideological divide.

We hope the council will consider this possibility before diminishing its own effectiveness by allowing hostilities to increase even further.


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