Secrecy in the city government is always a concern because it often supports and enables corruption.
There are situations that require secrets in the city government, but those situations should be very few and they should still be subject to some citizen review. All information relevant to the city and/or its operation should be available to the general public.
This issue is being brought up because a recent letter given to the city council members and the city administration included the following Restriction of Use: “This information is intended solely for the information and use of the Common Council, and management of the City of Lake Geneva and is not intended to be, and should not be, used by anyone other than these specified parties.”
If the document were a personnel issue or a security issue, then the restriction would be understood. But this letter was about the city’s financial matters and keeping the knowledge of the letter hidden from the public.
Well, so much for an open government in the City of Lake Geneva. The concern is not about the content of that letter, but the principle of a company and/or city officials hiding information from the public and other city personnel. Anyone who has read and followed the city’s lawsuits, and the investigations on salt, fountain money, car towing, car impoundment and dispositions of those vehicles, etc. knows how, in the past, corruption in the City of Lake Geneva was covered and hidden using secrecy, and how criminal members protected themselves by rewarding compliance and silence while punishing those who would speak up. Citizen oversight of government is what keeps the city government honest. Oversight requires oversight, not secret documents, hiding information, cover-ups, and secret deals for one’s retirement and pension in payment for one’s silence. Citizen oversight is the only light shining on the city government and it is the last line of defense against corruption and the only thing keeping the city government honest.