- time: 2 min. 10 sec.
City officials have an emotional reaction when being asked questions about the “Playground of Possibilities.” A number of things come to mind regarding this dialogue and Mayor Welo’s apparent pre-planned response to questions about city worker’s being authorized to work on what was billed as an “all volunteer” undertaking. It is unclear why the Mayor states in the following video that the authorization for this was for only “one day”, when in fact that is NOT the case.
It is most important to note: Of course the act of city service workers being tasked to work at a city park is not the issue here. It is the misrepresentation of the facts by our elected officials. All it would have taken to avoid this controversy would be the admission of mistakes, and honesty regarding what it required to fix those mistakes. Instead, failed attempts to spin or rework the facts only resulted in the further appearance of ineptitude or impropriety. What did your Mom always say about honesty? Yes, it would have been the best policy.
- The financing for this project was not secured prior to the scheduled “build week,” including the acquisition of all the individual playground “components”. The anticipated donor purchased playground components were unfortunately not accounted for before the build date which facilitated the taxpayer “loan.”
- For what ever reason(s), ample volunteers were not obtained which facilitated the need for the service department bailout effort.
- Mayor Welo states the need for service department workers to work on drainage issues to alleviate potential flooding. Her comments are difficult to rectify because: prior to pouring the rubber base for the playground, it is necessary to provide a gravel base. That is standard procedure. An employee of the contracted company can be heard on the previous video Two Different Stories , saying that the gravel shoveling going on (shown in the video) is usually done by the time his company arrives. He also states that volunteers were supposed to complete this work, but that did not occur.
- Eyewitness reports have city service workers engaged in the actual building of the playground while allegedly on the clock.
- In an apparent attempt to minimize or ignore the questions presented them, city officials opted to go ballistic and vent their anger on the person asking the questions. The chosen strategy for evading the issue at hand is not effective, relevant, or becoming. Nor is it legally sound. It would be wise for city officials to review the Ohio Sunshine Laws. Particularly this portion:
- “Any Person” may make a request
- “The requester need not be an Ohio or United States resident. In fact, in the absence of a statute to the contrary, foreign individuals and individuals living in a foreign country are “persons” who are entitled to inspect and copy public records. The requester need not be a human being, but may be a corporation, government agency or other body.”
“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them….To cover with the veil of secrecy the common routine of business, is an abomination in the eyes of every intelligent man.” – Patrick Henry
“A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” - James Madison
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right and a desire to know, but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” - John Adams
“Information is the currency of democracy.” – Thomas Jefferson