Monday, October 18, 2010

Why the delay in releasing the DPW "to do" list?

At last month's regular Council meeting, I made a very simple request. I asked the TM to publicly disclose the DPWs "to do" list. I didn't want a lot of details. I simply wanted the taxpayers to have the ability to hold staff and Council members accountable.

I wanted greater transparency and accountability.

Too bad the TM is opposed to such good government measures as they would be in direct conflict with his desired form of government... power & control... control the information.

Needless to say, I've gotten virtually nothing... nothing except for a promise to provide me the DPWs future road work schedule as soon as it's completed in a few weeks... even though I asked for a list of everything under the sun, including such relatively mundane items as potholes... and bigger items, such as culvert dredging. I didn't ask for a road work schedule.

But since I wasn't about to continue chasing the TM with his endless, never-to-be-fulfilled "I'll get back to you" promises, I simply chose to use the bully pulpit.

I waited until the next Council meeting and asked again.

And fortunately for the taxpayers, the TM wasn't at the last Council meeting... though his staff was. So they had to address my concern when I raised it again.

According to the DPW Director, releasing the DPWs "to do" list or "inventory" is a matter of policy:So my concern -- a concern shared by many voters -- returns to the TM.

As I depart, I will encourage the Council to direct the TM to release the DPW inventory of requested work that they have accepted as DPWs responsibility.

And it should be that simple, but this is discouraging. It is the type of thing that shouldn't even require a request... is should simply be done. It should not get the runaround from the TM. But that is his modus operandi.

Control the information.

If no one knows, then no one can hold him accountable!

That must stop.

Regardless, based on the DPW Director's candid response it's obvious to me that the TM is simply dawdling on my request.

I'll ask the Planning Committee Chairman, Jimmy Sima, to follow thru on this.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

My boss asked me what I had on my plate for the next month as he needed to report to his boss what we are working on....I told him as a matter of policy, I don't release that information.......could you imagine that? I would be cleaning out my desk.

Tim White said...

It's just par for the course... like when the town was facing allegations of corruption... the TM chose to sit on the letter for eleven days... then bury it in a stack of papers... and he NEVER drew any attention to the word "corruption." And I don't believe there is any corruption. But if I ever heard of such a thing in any other job, I'd immediately bring it to the attention of my boss. But this is our TM. So...

Control the information!

I just hope my Council colleagues come to the same conclusion I reached... elected officials may change in Washington, Hartford or Cheshire... but there'll be no real change until the unelected, politically appointed officials begin to change.

Term limits are interesting. But to be effective, they probably need to be expanded to unelected political appointments too. They're one of the big problems with DC. The pols get thrown out, but their staff remain in place doing the same thing.

Anonymous said...

My boss doesn't ask me for this because I provide this before being asked for's called being proactive and responsible.

Depending on my target audience, I always have a "To Do" list, 30,60,90+ day or more dashboard of priorities, status and deadlines for each of my departments.

Why is this important? Not only does it help make certain that I'm working on the right priorities at any given time but it also clearly identifies how we're tracking to our goals. More importantly, I know that my teams are working on the right priorities.

It allows my supervisors to adjust their 'dashboard' and should anything change higher up in the food chain, it gives a clear picture of what priorities may be impacted. With limited resources priorities will get shuffled around. It's inevitable.

But it's simply good communication. NEVER EVER keep your supervisors guessing about your priorities. Very bad for them and for you. Don't do it.

Anonymous said...

The school system implemented a program that tracks work to do, work in progress, etc. for the maintenance/custodial departments. I see no reason why the town couldn't have the same program.

Tim White said...

3:51... they track the info, they just don't want to release it.

From the perspective of it becoming an administrative burden, I can accept that. But I'm not looking for perfection. I just think people ought to know if they're even on the "to do" list.

In seven years, I've seen too many times where requests are accepted by the DPW... but the work is never done.

Tim White said...

Posting the "to do" to the town website would increase transparency and help taxpayers begin to hold staff (and Council) accountable.