It appears we’re going down another slippery slope with information coming out of borough hall in Honesdale
It appears we’re going down another slippery slope with information coming out of borough hall in Honesdale.
To refresh your memory, it was about a year ago or so when it was decided by the previous council they would have just one spokesman for the entire board. Of course, that’s completely way out of bounds, not to mention suppression of free speech and the list goes on.
With the last election, it appeared things were changing. In fact, during an interview with F.J. Monaghan, now council president, and Scott Smith, now finance chairman, before they took office, they spoke fondly of openness and making sure the public was informed of their every move.
Here are a few quotes from that interview:
• “Everybody is really committed to trying to be as open as possible,” said Scott Smith, who won a term on the council in the most recent election.
• “There are seven voices and that’s the way it should be,” said F.J. Monaghan, who previously served eight years on the council.
• “I didn’t like the way things were going,” said Monaghan of one of the factors that made him decide to run.
• “There were too many administrative things that were being discussed there,” said Smith of the executive sessions.
• “We want it to be open,” said Monaghan. (When speaking about the news media.)
• “The mistakes that have been made in the past are mistakes,” said Monaghan.
When we conducted that interview, our hopes were raised immensely because of the problems we had in the past.
And don’t get me wrong, it has been much better than before.
However, it appears we have hit a snag.
Last week, Monaghan informed us that he wanted all questions directed to him in written form. Email, he said, was fine.
So last week, we had a question and sent it to him via email. We have still yet to hear a response.
We also requested from him that he give us in writing his request to have stuff from us come in writing. (Yikes!)
I want to be clear here, this is only coming from the council president. So far, none of the other members of the council have made such a request and we have been able to communicate with them through that antiquated system called a telephone.
Here’s where I think the problems lie.
It seems that when people get elected they are quick to say how things are going to change and everything will be different.
But the reality hits home rather quickly when controversial issues arise and they are suddenly the ones answering the hard questions.
And there are some hard questions.
Just because a new council came into office didn’t mean that all of the issues were suddenly going to go away.
In fact, just consider the issues of former zoning officer Wayne Earley and former councilman Nick Slish. Both are now gone from those roles and, to say the least, it has not been an easy ride for members of the council.
But it is the reality and they are going to have to understand that sometimes, questions are going to be uncomfortable. It’s not all of the time as some would say. We’ve written many positive stories about the borough, from clearing of the river bank to the swimming pool situation which brought the entire community together.
That, however, doesn’t mean more controversial subjects aren’t going to arise. In fact, they are arising all of the time and these matters need addressed.
I’m still trying to figure out why we need to submit questions in writing. As far as I can remember, we’ve yet to misquote Monaghan in any stories or if we have, he hasn’t said that’s the case. We’re happy to print corrections when they are warranted.
Another factor in all of this is timing. It is our job to get out the news quickly. If I had to wait for a PPL spokesman to write a storm story, the story would not get done.
Telephone communications remain the backbone of how we talk to people. Sure, email has taken over quite a bit, but when you are on deadline and you need to know about a wreck or something, you pick up the phone and talk with an official.
I don’t see why that shouldn’t be the case with the president of the borough council.
I just hope the rest of the members can see the forest for the trees and not fall into this same, clumsy habit.
Little is editor of The Wayne Independent and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.