Citizens group would restore publics trust | AspenTimes.com

Citizens group would restore publics trust

Dear Editor:Representation needs to be supplemented by accountability, transparency and evaluation (RATE). Power should flow from the bottom up, not from the top down.I propose setting up an independent citizens group as the second point of my 10-point plan to restore the bond of trust between our county government and the citizens its elected to serve. This group of nine people will be made up of one Independent, one Democrat and one Republican from each of the three commissioner districts. At least one person from District 3 must be from the Roaring Fork Valley. None should be current elected officials; they should all be regular people that represent a cross section of Eagle County. The reason for this is that the board of commissioners gets feedback from elected officials through many other venues. This group will evaluate large spending proposals and budget items before they are acted upon by the county commissioners. This includes proposals that are discussed in executive session, like the B & B project.Representation: The people will be represented by their elected officials, as well as by friends and neighbors in a nonpartisan manner. Accountability: Elections every four years are an inefficient way of determining our priorities, since priorities can change in that period of time. Taxpayer preferences could be elicited directly by providing a detailed breakdown of how funds were spent in the past year, accompanied by an invitation to express a preference about priorities. The key to the success of the RATE program is to do this in advance of the budget process or when large spending commitments are made. This way the community gives input about priorities during the first phase of the process, not just approval after the budget process is 99 percent complete. Transparency: County commissioners decisions made in closed-door executive sessions will be rated by this group. This will give the community more opportunity to weigh in on these closed-door decisions besides afternoon board of commissioner meetings that are difficult to attend for working people. Evaluation: The spending oversight group will rank all spending proposals according to a cost-benefit analysis and evaluate their county-wide implications to achieve our state-mandated goals versus discretionary spending. This program will be a safeguard against any commissioner spending our taxpayer money on pet projects. It will also give the community more opportunities to give opinions to the board of commissioners. Debbie BuckleyEagle County commissioner candidateAvon

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