Information, not secrecy

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our newspaper has reserved final judgment on the Navy’s proposed use of Franklin Municipal Airport for training of turboprop pilots. We await a comprehensive analysis of the impacts, both from financial and quality-of-life standpoints, before rendering an opinion.

We are increasingly concerned about whether city leaders have the ability to conduct the thorough study of the Navy’s initial proposal that will be required for the community to make an informed decision. Not only must the city accurately tally the costs associated with Franklin’s contractual obligations to the Navy, but it must also calculate the impact on the community’s fragile economy.

We would find greater comfort in the process if city leaders would identify who will be spearheading the project, who will be compiling and studying the information required to accurately assess our potential obligations, and the parameters within which a yes or no vote will be cast.

Most important, secrecy in the process must stop. For two consecutive meetings, the City Council has retreated to a back room at City Hall to discuss a “contract” that even the city acknowledges does not exist. In so doing, the council is thumbing its nose at the state’s open-meetings law and at the citizenry to whom it answers.

The community repeatedly has been promised transparency during this process. We’re still waiting.