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Transparency & Collaboration

I'm dedicated to helping to unite Cumberland around a shared vision for our future through transparency and collaboration. Government is a two-way street, and leaders have a fundamental responsibility to maintain open communication with the people they serve.

 

Transparency builds trust in our elected officials and holds them accountable, ensuring every voice in our community is valued and our vote matters. Your voice matters to me, and I am listening.

The Town of Cumberland does an excellent job of sharing information through its websiteYouTube, and the Cumberland Crier, and provides easy access to Town Council items like agendas, meeting minutes. I propose we build upon these strengths to make Council processes, decisions, and long-range projects easier for residents to track and understand. Read detailed specifics on my plans for increased information access in my Transparency & Collaboration blog post.

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Collaboration is Key

Embracing various viewpoints and maintaining a collaborative culture allows us to make decisions that are not just well-informed but truly reflective of our community's collective needs and goals. This applies to the Council's dealings with the School Board, Cumberland citizens, and also neighboring towns. I have a proven track record of effective communication and collaboration within our community, as CNY Lions Club web admin and incoming Club Secretary, the education liaison to MSAD51 on the LCC's Community Orchard Subcommittee, and in my interactions with community members in the wild west of Facebook. Look no further than my post history for examples of how I consciously and consistently strive to find common ground, even when we may disagree on the issues. This is who I am personally and professionally, and it is how I will operate as your representative on the Town Council.

Cumberland is filled with amazing people with creative ideas. A spirit of teamwork and constructive, respectful discourse will go a long way toward addressing Cumberland's existing challenges: stimulating commercial growth, balancing growth with sustainability and land conservation, reducing high property taxes, supporting our growing demographic of seniors and families, improving housing affordability and variety, and helping facilitate future regionalization and cooperation with neighboring towns. See Fiscal Responsibility and Smart Growth & Housing Variety for more information.

Cumberland residents cite a perceived lack of transparency

Many people do not use social media, are not subscribed to the Crier, are unable to attend or stream Town Council meetings, and do not read meeting minutes. We have over 8,000 citizens in Cumberland and the average Town Council meeting on YouTube has less than 200 views. There may be a project in the works for years, mentioned periodically at Town Council meetings, but only after it nears the finish line do residents finally catch wind of it.

Naturally, faced with what now seems like a short timeline and a mountain of information to process, people feel rushed or panicked to act. They may feel the Council is racing to push something through without public input, or that planning was done without transparency. This leads to community-wide stress, conflict, division, and mistrust in our Town government.

This isn't new. It's a theme you'll find repeated throughout Town Council history going back to at least 2010, evidenced in the 15 years of historical meeting minutes posted on the Town's website. However, just because it's been the status quo for decades doesn't mean it should continue. Situations like these could be prevented, or at least mitigated, with proactive, clear, and abundant communication through every step of planning and decision-making.

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As a Town Councilor, I will actively work to improve transparency and information access

The majority of people don't have the time to sift through months of fragmented minutes, agendas, and individual news articles to form a complete picture of the Town Council's projects, which sometimes span years. The Town Council page has side panels for the minutes, agendas, committees, and news; let's add a projects panel and use it.

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