The meaning of transparency
For about the last six months we have been hearing a lot from the Commissioners Court about more transparency. I am all about more transparency. In fact, the Sheriff provides weekly articles to the newspaper so that you, the public, can be more informed about the workings of your Sheriff’s Office. However, talking about it and showing it are two different things.
One example of good transparency can be seen on the Commissioners Court Agenda dated Sept. 23, 2013. Under the “consent agenda” item A5 there is a detailed summary of how certain people in the DA’s Office were going to get a salary supplement. It gives their names and the amounts. Everything was up front.
We also have an example of what is not transparency and it comes from the county judge herself. It seems after the 2013-14 budget was set, to include her salary, she came back on the Oct. 28, 2013, Commissioners Court Agenda and through very minimal information, managed to get her compensation raised. Take a look at the “consent agenda” item F1. It does not show who it benefits or how much it is. Compare this to the full disclosure the District Attorney provided on Sept. 23 agenda. It is very apparent that the whole pay increase for her was being minimally disclosed. She gets a raise but other positions are cut.
It appears transparency is only required for a few, but not for the one that controls who is allowed on the agenda, what is allowed on the agenda and just how much the agenda item is going to disclose. These attributes are not what I look for in an effective leader.
Ellis County Sheriff’s Office Association member