Something might actually be changing in politics.
I just got done listening to Teddy’s interview with State Auditor Diana DiZoglio. If you haven’t listened yet, you really should if you care about transparency in Government and tearing down the club house walls.
In short, the State Auditor wants to conduct and Audit of the Massachusetts Legislative Bodies. Sounds simple, but it hasn’t happened often, and surprise, the leadership doesn’t want her poking around in their affairs. Given the likely outcome of such an audit, “affairs” may be a very appropriate word, as non-disclosures often aren’t made public yet are paid in public dollars.
Locally, ever since we’ve had district representation we’ve had councilors filing many motions. Too many if you are from a neighborhood that doesn’t like accountability or sharing power or are an old school politician and maybe even if you are the author of a blog about such things.
The first motions filed by this new breed of councilor were mostly on hiring practices. Other motions from the New Kids have been about practices that hamper good governance and pre date the current administration. But I think their point had been the foundation on running a good business or government is hiring qualified people. Every other issue can be traced back to that. I’ll put it in a way that makes sense to me even on a Friday Night: If you hire a bartender that has a lot of friends but can’t count or make drinks, eventually you’re going to have a shit bar. The New Kids have more freedom in the new format. They don’t have to answer to the whole city. I think this will lead to something positive, just like the proposed Audit of the State House.
Why are these two things a big deal? Maybe it’s too “Inside Baseball” for some. Maybe it doesn’t impact residents directly. Or maybe not. It feels like the old ways of doing business are possibly wearing thin. I think we are lucky to have someone like Diana DiZoglio starting to peel back the curtains at the State House. And I think we are lucky in Lowell that we now have Councilors with the courage and support to do the same and a manager who is willing and able to change. If government becomes more transparent and operates more for the people than for those in office, doesn’t that help? Grift is like mold. It thrives without sunlight.
Hopefully these efforts take and hopefully it isn’t just a local fad to push for transparency and improvement. Hopefully the State Auditor will get to conduct her audit. If so, maybe…just maybe, we are on the verge of good governance.