Kudos to communication

Communication in small town government

Recently across Platte County, social media was blowing up, people were speculating and putting forth thoughts without fact-checking and some local government officials were under fire.

Ordinance 833 had surfaced without much information and something that seemed so innocent and positive for the community was blown up into the idea that local government was trying to take the guns out of the hands of Wheatland residents.

The council called a special workshop to rework and to collect input from the public and in the world of politics where everything is just done secretly and pushed through with little notice, we would like to commend Wheatland Mayor Brandon Graves and the council for addressing issues, answering questions and asking for input.

To the rumor mill that was at times very accusatory, Graves responded, “It’s not law, it’s not passed. It’s a work in progress, I think there’s been some unnecessary muddying of the waters with social media and word-of-mouth that have been misinterpreted and twisted and a lot of things I hope we can dispel tonight.”

The council meeting that drew approximately 40 people first of all got to hear from not only the mayor, but from all the councilmen. Each one took a turn sharing their thoughts about the newly drafted ordinance and then giving an explanation as to why the first draft was voted on and approved.

In an age when things in our nation are falsely publicized and then openly ostracized on social media platforms, the trend has been to spread the rumor first and check it out later. It is refreshing to find people who read things, take it with a grain of salt and a moment of time to check it from several sources.

Better yet, if possible, go to the source and find out all the facts before checking with all the “Twitbook” and “Facegram” friends first.

We have a council here that was elected by the people of Platte County. We have a right to question. We have a right to oppose opinions. What we don’t have is a right to sound the tea kettle without first knowing all the facts.

It was interesting to find out that it wasn’t the council’s idea to change this ordinance, but it was brought to light by someone in the community that realized the ordinance had to be changed to mirror state statutes.

This was a case of a council listening to the people, addressing the issue, fixing the problems and bringing the situation to light for input from a public that first asked for the change.

In local government it is imperative that there be an open door policy and a place for interaction with those who govern our towns.

To go above and beyond to create special workshops and to tell people that the input is welcomed is a pattern that all towns and cities must adhere to. Especially in turbulent times when it’s just easier to believe social media without doing the homework.

We the public expect the leaders to do their homework and to have their doors open if we have concerns. It’s a very good thing when the public does the same.

The public can view the workshop in its entirety at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_XdP8YkLU0

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