Where there is light, there is nowhere to hide. Only the shadows and darkness can hold the secrets. Where there is a window, you can see through to the other side to observe what is happening there. The same is true in business and government. When you shine a light on the issues, the corrupt have no place to hide so they run to darkness lest they be exposed. They pull down the shades and close the blinds so that there is no looking in. Why? There must be a lot to hide.
Newspapers serve to shine the light, throw the curtains back and take a good look at what is going on. If there is nothing to hide, nothing will be found. And yet some in our government and member-owned businesses continue to hide in the shadows.
“We need a better relationship with the media,” said Holley-Navarre Water System Board President Bien May at a recent board committee meeting that we were asked not to attend. Really Mr. May? Every single records request made by this newspaper has gone either unanswered or denied. Why is that? What is there to hide? We report facts, and if you don’t like the facts then your board should change the way they do business. Your lack of transparency, closed-door sessions and automatic refusal of information requests lead to whispers of corruption and back-door deals. You have pre-meetings out of the public so that we do not know what is discussed. When we call to ask, the information is not given out. The pre-meetings are important because that is where all of the discussions take place and they are open to the public as well.
Transparency is important for a member-owned business, especially in light of the fact that the water system upped the rates by a whopping 17.5 percent due to a bad decision that left your former now deceased executive director holding the bag. Billy Sublett “resigns” and then a few days later he dies from a massive heart attack. Could it be that the stress of it all must have been overwhelming?
The truth is, the company is member-owned, but the owners have absolutely no say in what decisions are made and they have no knowledge of what is transpiring. And neither does the media. Corruption at its core can only take place when no one knows, in the shadows, in the dark. Holley-Navarre Water System, it is time to open the curtains, face the light and tell the truth. The truth is much lighter than bearing the weight and guilt of the lies.