THE idea of the Winder Police Department dispatch being merged with Barrow County’s E-911 system is intriguing and merits further discussion. Anytime there is an opportunity for streamlining government operations, we think those ideas need to be explored.
But what often looks good on paper may turn out to be not so good in reality. That’s why these kinds of proposals need a lot of careful thought and input from various sources as they develop. In the real world of public safety, things can get complex in a hurry. What undermines this idea, however, is once again the Winder City Council’s tendency to have important public discussions in secret. The council reportedly discussed this matter in a closed meeting Jan. 3.
Why? What is so top-secret about a proposed city-county communications plan that would motivate the city government to go behind closed doors to discuss it?
This has become the mode of operations for Winder’s government for many months; secret meetings on issues where secrecy isn’t warranted and is illegal.
What part of doing the public’s business in the open does city attorney John Stell not understand? He, of all people, should know the law and advise the city council to follow it.
The merger of these communication departments may be a good idea and we hope more discussions take place.
But for heaven’s sake, don’t run into the shadows and hide on the issue. That will only undermine the entire thing by bringing suspicion of the motives behind it.