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A very welcome case of political transparency

Posted 7/15/14

Politicians promise transparency when they run for office, but too often seem to ignore that tenet when it’s convenient and politically expedient.

 

But in this instance – the hiring of a new chief for the Middletown Police …

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A very welcome case of political transparency

Posted

Politicians promise transparency when they run for office, but too often seem to ignore that tenet when it’s convenient and politically expedient.

 

But in this instance – the hiring of a new chief for the Middletown Police Department – Middletown Borough Council is involving the public to an unprecedented degree in the department’s recent history.

 

The three finalists for the job were scheduled to meet the public during two meetings of council’s Public Safety Committee, which will recommend a candidate to the full council. One finalist was scheduled to appear at a committee meeting on Tuesday, July 15, while the other two are scheduled to appear at a meeting beginning at 4 p.m. on Monday, July 21.

 

The committee – councilors Scott Sites, Robert Louer and John Brubaker – will interview each finalist privately before each public appearance by the finalists. But the opportunity for the public to, as Sites puts it, “meet and mingle’’ with those who want to serve Middletown as the borough’s top cop is unusual. Mayor James H. Curry III, who was invited by the committee to join in the interviews, said it’s the first time residents have had the chance to ask questions of those seeking the job.

 

Even if the public segment of the interview process does not produce tidbits that would sway committee members toward or away from any of the finalists – though each finalist’s ability to deal with the public should be a factor – it’s a great idea to open up the process as much as council has done. At the very least, the public can see that there is actually an attempt underway to find the best candidate. Too often, government hires are simply announced to the public, and the voters wonder if any other qualified candidates were considered. In this case, the public can perhaps be a factor in the hiring of a chief – and at least feel as though it was considered when a candidate was hired.

 

Council has the right under the law to keep the interview process private, but has chosen to invite the public to join in. We expect the public will be anxious to meet its newest public servant. 

 

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