Unbelievable public notice

In the Feb. 7, Record-Eagle, I was astonished to see a “Legal Notice” from Torch Lake Township of minutes from their Jan. 19, board meeting. The township clerk deserves praise for demonstrating one of the best examples of how government bodies should disclose information to the public.

However, there is not one single township in Grand Traverse County, the city, the county board, the schools, the airport or the Road Commission that reports, with significant clarity or detail, anything that happens in public meetings. And it’s getting worse every year. Despite some “legal requirement” to publish “minutes of meetings” somewhere, they apparently don’t need full disclosure, because they don’t. Even the official online minutes have become vacuous documents that disclose almost nothing.

Minutes are published erratically, usually months after meetings. Some clerks basically re-post the “meeting agenda” with vague references to some action taken with no detail as to “who” was appointed, how much money was approved, or how many votes for or against were made. Paradise Township buries an entire meeting in one long sentence, while Garfield just gives the website where one can search for minutes.

It is refreshing to see honest, transparent government that doesn’t hide from citizens.

David Petrove

Interlochen

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