Monday, February 05, 2007

Montague Budget

Smiths Falls This Week has a front page story and an editorial on the first budget planning meeting of Montague Township council. The gist of both is that council was unprepared and that nothing has been done - and that it already being February, things are way behind where they should be.

I suspect that council was anxious to hold as much of the budget deliberation in public as possible, given their election promises. If that makes them look unprepared, or exposes the warts in the process, then that's unfortunate. The newspaper articles advocate that the initial budget work be done in private - but I think that's naive given the recent election campaign we had in Montague.

I wasn't at the meeting. But what struck me most about the piece in the paper was the extensive and free-ranging commentary given by a member of the township staff. Public sector employees are citizens, of course, and have as much right to hold and express their opinions as the rest of us, but they are also often in positions of responsibility and trust that call for some discretion. The piece in the paper doesn't display a lot of discretion, nor respect for the elected councillors who are the employer of all township staff. If this is how freely information and opinion gushes to a newspaper reporter, what other information, misinformation or gossip might be flowing from the township office?