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Officials need to explain their actions

By Staff | Jul 30, 2010

To the editor,


More than ever, our citizens demand open government. Because of journalistic enterprise and sunshine laws, Commissioner John Manning was charged with violating Lee County’s lobbyist disclosure ordinance. He pleaded no-contest and paid a fine in June 2000.


Nine years later, he was the first of more than 20 persons to send their applications to the Governor for appointment to the Lee County Board of Commissioners.


Several regional newspapers provided Internet links to copies of all the applications, showing the Governor’s questions and the candidates’ answers. One of the questions was: “Have you ever been arrested, charged or indicted for violation of any federal, state, county, or municipal law, regulation or ordinance?”


Commissioner Manning’s written response — sworn to be complete and true — was “No.”


Now it is time for further questions. Why did the Commissioner answer as he did; and why did the Governor appoint someone who was not truthful in his application?


Sunshine in government is a powerful concept. However, sunshine is beneficial only if citizens and journalists look closely at what is revealed and challenge government officials to explain their actions.


Mike Jackson

Candidate, Lee County Board of Commissioners District 1