After the 2017 Milton elections, I received a call from newly elected Council Member Laura Bentley (paraphrasing): “OK Tim, you are the first one I am calling. I wanted to (again) give you the opportunity to serve as one of my appointees to one of Milton’s committees. You can choose any appointed position that you want.” Laura’s offer was in recognition of my role—some would claim it was dispositive—in Laura’s historic landslide victory (she garnered 71% of the vote) over an 11-year incumbent who had served on City Council since the founding of the City of Milton. In Laura’s words I had done the “very messy heavy lifting.” (In future blog posts, I will relate some of tasks I performed. Readers will clearly understand what Laura meant by “very messy heavy lifting” and they might be surprised by the role I played.)
I appreciated the call, but Laura knew my answer. I told Laura: “I have to decline. I think I can best serve the community in my current role. Some citizens need to remain outside of government and hold it accountable. I think I need to continue what I have been doing.” I wanted to continue to objectively blog about city politics, to speak freely before council, and to take other actions to keep our government accountable. I felt a committee appointment might constrain me in these activities. Laura knew this, but I did appreciate her extending the courtesy of asking me one last time to serve on a committee. (Laura and I did discuss other appointees for various appointed positions. And I did convey to Laura that I would like to serve on the Charter Commission, which meets every 5 years to review Milton’s Charter; Milton’s Charter is roughly akin to the city’s constitution. More about the Charter in another blog post.)
With the 2021 elections approaching, I strongly believe that holding Milton’s government accountable is now more important than ever. Accordingly, in advance of the 2021 elections in Milton, I have decided to re-launch the Milton Coalition blog. My purpose is the same as always . . . to promote good governance in the local community. I have always strongly believed that Milton deserves (to quote the title of a book from President Jimmy Carter) “a government as good as it’s people.” A key component of a good government is accountability, which ultimately is the job of ordinary citizens, like you and me. I learned much from my experience of being steeped in City government and politics for 2 years. I want to convey some of these lessons to Milton’s citizens so that they might better engage local government and demand greater accountability. I believe good governance is strongly correlated with citizen engagement in our government. (And that is why I primarily supported Laura Bentley because she made “shifting power to citizens” one of her 3 primary campaign promises. More about this promise in future blog posts.)
My humble hope is that, in advance of the 2021 election, citizens will once again visit the Milton Coalition Blog. It is during elections, particularly competitive races, that citizens are afforded their best opportunities to question government officials and flush out their stances on issues of greatest importance to citizens. I hope my blog will help citizens to better formulate questions for the candidates and to better convey their concerns to these candidates. Please let your friends and neighbors know about the blog and encourage them to subscribe. And please reach out if you have specific questions or would like me to address a specific issue.
Advocating For Good Governance,