Sallie's Commitment As Mayor - Communication and Transparency
My Commitment As Mayor – Communication & Transparency
I was just a small-business owner in 1997 when politicians proposed the closure of my neighborhood fire station. Throughout our neighborhood fight to save our fire and emergency services, we were refused public documents, response time data and were threatened with paying thousands of dollars for public information. The city even imposed a “gag order” on our local firefighters to prevent them from discussing the fire station closure proposal. Our neighborhood association was forced to file numerous open record requests and finally, under pressure from the media, the city released the information. I tell this story, because no citizen should be treated as our neighborhood was, denied important documents on a matter of public concern.
Perhaps that’s why I’m so passionate about transparency. As Mayor, I’ll look to technology improvements and increase access to “live” and personalized customer service. One thing the pandemic taught us, is how important electronic and two-way virtual communications have opened doors to new opportunities. In the many city meetings I’ve attended recently, there have been frequent “glitches” that limited citizen participation. And, have you ever tried to use the city’s GoCOS app? It requires personal information registration, is cumbersome and provides limited updates on issue resolution of citizen requests. Recently, my neighbors reported abandoned vehicles and were instructed to visit the website, print out a form, fill it out by hand and drop it off at the local police station. Is this the best way to handle citizen complaints in this day and age? As a candidate for county commissioner in 2004, I was told a copy of the El Paso County budget would cost $750, so I convinced county officials to place the budget online and make it accessible for all. As a result of my insistence, it has been online every year since then. As a commissioner, I led the effort to televise and broadcast meetings for public access to keep residents informed of county meetings.
My reputation as a neighborhood advocate with an emphasis on communication has kept me grounded over the years. It’s an important transparency reminder that I will take to City Hall in my administration, including:
City technology/website review and telecommunication improvements
Improving virtual and in-person meetings and agenda notifications
Improving website accessibility, language translation and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-friendly compliance
Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) compliance
Sunshine Act open meetings compliance
Providing City Councilmembers access to data, information with open city staff communication
Holding quarterly Mayor/City Council Town Halls in person with virtual options to ensure neighborhood and citywide engagement
Monthly State of the City updates
Monthly data reporting to City Council and citizens on citizen issues
My past experiences as a government outsider, places me in a unique position as our Mayor, to improve communications with you. It’s just the right thing to do.