Better East Texas: Transparency key for local government

Better East Texas: Transparency key for local government

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - It is so frustrating when government officials don't act with transparency.

Recently it was revealed that the FBI and the Texas Attorney General were investigating the Smith County Commissioners Court, specifically on the decision that the court acted illegally on signing a contract that would allow school zone speed cameras. It appears that County Judge Joel Baker made the decision independent of many, if not all, on the court.

Baker has even admitted it was his failure not to include the members of the court and, as importantly, the public the decision process. So now we have this investigation. No matter how this turns out, this should be a message to our local governments that they have a responsibility to the electorate to be inclusive and transparent on these types of decisions.

We live in a society that requires a certain trust in the system of government. We may not always trust or agree with the people in positions of power, but the system is sacred. If further wrongdoing is discovered in this investigation, then those responsible will have to face judgment. The question of these school zone cameras is already a controversial topic in the majority of communities across our area.

For the decision to be made without the benefit of an appropriate process is wrong. The question is whether it was wrong beyond the scope of just being bad judgement on the part of Baker. Either way, local governments following the rules will give us all confidence in the process and make for a Better East Texas.

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