Support of a government study commission is not support for home rule. I find it disappointing that some people are trying to confuse the two in an attempt to stop a commission from being elected. This administration has attempted to be involved with the public as much as possible since my election. Past administrations have paid thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds fighting against right-to-know requests in court in an attempt to prevent the public from knowing the truth about what they were doing.
The question on the ballot in the primary election is only to form a government study commission to look into the way the city has been operated in the past, currently operates and make recommendations on how it should be operated in the future. No change to our current form of government can be made by the government study commission.
If a government study commission is approved by the voters later this month, the commission itself may recommend no change to the city’s form of government. Any recommendations that the commission would make for change would have to be put on a future ballot. This is the process set by the state so that no change can be made without this process to protect the taxpayer. The commission would have access to the city’s operations and finances and be required to report their findings to the public.
Most people running for office use the term “transparency,” yet few have the opportunity (or in some cases, the intention) to offer this kind of open access to an administration for a study commission to report to the voters.
When asked if I personally support Home Rule, my answer is simple. How can anyone support or be against something that has not been written yet? If the commission would recommend change and bring it before the voter, only then can you know if it is good or bad. Making a decision on something that hasn’t been written is very close-minded, and the reason the city has not moved forward. In my opinion, support of a study commission can only be a good thing, as the commission is charged with reporting the city’s operations to the public. Let this commission be yet another check and balance of this administration.
I campaign for no individual person, as I am sure that any seven of the 14 candidates would serve the public well.
John J. Brown
Mayor of Shamokin