So, this is one of those very interesting realities of being "in the arena" versus being strictly in the media or in the audience: during an Executive Session of Council last week, as noted on the Special Council Session's agenda, we discussed the situation with our city's police union. Today's Chagrin Solon Sun article, "Layoff possibility looms for Pepper Pike Police Department as city demands wage cuts of up to 30 percent; new offer being discussed," follows up on that fact.
When I was contacted by the Sun earlier this week, I dutifully said, I can't discuss this topic because we discussed it in Executive Session and I'm not allowed to say anything. Yet apparently, some information was already out on the street and the reporter - also true to duty - was trying to figure out fact from fiction and report as accurately and completely on what the media was hearing, preferably with input from the City's elected officials. Eventually, as the article reveals, the Mayor and one of my colleagues were able to address the reporter's questions.
That was actually the second time this week that I said "no" to a reporter - and I hated it both times (the other time had to do with a request for the draft FAQs related to the budget situation; we'd passed out the draft to Council and during the meeting, discussed the need for input, but not the content of the document itself, so it was ruled to not be a public record).
Somewhat deep thought: In accepting being on Council, I've accepted to operate by a different set of rules than I operate under as an unelected person. And some of the rules are showing me how the definition of transparency is, itself, far less transparent - let alone singular - than I ever imagined.
How do I sort this out? I'm working on that, but mostly, it's an ongoing process - one which includes hearing from the media, hearing from legal eagles, hearing from my colleagues and hearing from the residents I serve.
Ultimately, I go back to knowing that I took an oath related to serving on Council and serving the City of Pepper Pike. And what I'm finding is that, at times, the acceptance of that responsibility requires me to support actions that, if I was not on Council and had not taken that oath, I would not support.
One conclusion I'm considering: that the notion of transparency is like the notion of an appraisal, because we usually first ask, "What's it for?".
What do you think?