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Saturday , 25 September 2021

Opinion: Transparency is important in municipal politics

Municipal governments exist to serve the people and be transparent. Public officials with integrity are ever mindful of the fact that the money they have to spend on their communities comes directly from their residents through tax dollars.

I’ve only been working in the Lakeland for a short time and have created great relationships with all Mayors in the Lakeland Region, except one. Mayor Omer Moghrabi of Lac La Biche County. Our relationship started like all the others I was able to build, but quickly went downhill after I reported the truth about Lac La Biche County and how they tore down a homeless encampment on April 22, citing the Community Standards Bylaw.

I mean the County has done a great job of slowly rectifying the issues that surround the homeless situation, but by holding you accountable I have seemed to have rubbed you the wrong way.

I know this because when I asked you for an on-camera interview at the annual 4-H Achievement Day Beef Show I attended in Lac La Biche, you graciously declined, stating that you require an apology from me to speak with me. I would like to know for what? For telling the truth and holding you accountable to the people who pay taxes?

A municipal government exists to serve taxpayers, I work for the people to keep them informed, and always state the truth good or bad.

Well, I have been trying to get a hold of you Mayor Omer Moghrabi to inform Lac La Biche County residents who you work for about what is going on in the region. Your input and opinion are valuable to Lakeland Connect readers. It’s kind of hard to do that when you won’t speak to me and you’re punishing my company for a story we published. Don’t punish the readers of Lac La Biche Country who count on our news to keep informed about what’s happening in their community.

I hate to write this editorial, I sent a request several times and received this reply after I asked the Communications Manager Jihad Moghrabi about why you won’t speak to me.

“I understand, but the Mayor makes his own choices about the interview requests that he accepts,” Jihad Moghrabi said in a reply to my email. “Communications replies to media requests from an administrative point of view, but elected officials are free to pick who they wish to respond to, and under what circumstances. If you have any specific questions about County programs or services, I’m happy to address them—however, I can’t schedule an interview with the Mayor for you. Thanks for your understanding, and take care.”

Well, I sent you an email too, by the way, hopefully, it’s not in your spam folder. The more a local government can provide in the way of transparency, the more it increases trust, honesty, and integrity in the government leaders. That’s you!

Integrity is inherently connected with trust. When residents feel that their government officials are working hard to earn their trust, it builds confidence in the public’s view of the government.

Let’s work together Mayor Omer Moghrabi to inform taxpayers, all the other Mayors are in the Lakeland Region.

When the general public has questions, they need a place to get answers and that’s what I plan on doing with or without you because I work for them. I’m just here to hold our leaders accountable. You can punish me, but don’t punish the taxpayers who want to remain informed.

Transparency is important in municipal politics Mayor Omer Moghrabi.

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About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is from Whitbourne Newfoundland and graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner!