Friday, May 27, 2022

LETTER: An open letter to the residents of Double Oak

Governance as written and cited from an article by “UCLG ASPAC” is a concept that has been around for years and is commonly used by many people to govern. Its use often depends on the intended purpose, the people involved, and the social and political environment of a town.

According to the article, governance refers to the activities of all political and administrative authorities to govern their country, state, city, or town. Thus, in general, governance has the meaning: the decision-making process and the process of determining which policies will be implemented and not implemented.

Defining good governance

The term good governance aims to minimize corruption, consider the opinions of all residents, listen to the voices of the people in the decision-making process, and respond actively to the needs of the community now and in the future.

Eight principles of good governance

Citing from the “United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP),” the concept of good governance has eight principles.

1. Participation

Participation in the concept of good governance here is an opportunity for everyone to voice their opinions through institutions or representations. In addition, everyone, without exception, has the right to freedom of association and expression.

“We believe that Double Oak does provide the opportunity of participation to its residents. However, with the current town council it lacks transparency in the way it listens and responds to its citizens.” “Voices are heard but items brought forward are rarely acted upon by the current council members and their actions”

2. Rule of law

To implement good governance, the legal framework in the town must be enforced impartially.

“The current Double Oak Town Council is lacking in its knowledge of our town ordinances and at times chooses to govern around them if it fits their agenda.” This cannot happen to our town. If ordinances need to be addressed it is responsibility of the town council to collaborate with its citizens to address. The problem with this is the proper due diligence is lacking with the current town council to address these ordinances that may be outdated or do not fit in within our town today.”

3. Transparency

Transparency means that every policy taken and implemented by the government must be conducted under existing regulations. In addition, there must be a guarantee that any information related to the policy can be accessed by everyone, especially those who are directly affected by the policy.

“There is a reason The Town of Double Oak has five candidates vying for three spots in this election.

The incumbent, Billie Garret has just recently taken to social media to share her transparency on certain town agenda items specifically the vote on the freeze of the towns portion of property taxes for those sixty-five and older.

• Why has Billie not shared her past views on her votes within social media?
• Is Billie going to share her future positions on agenda items if she is reelected?
• Or is this just Billie pandering for votes claiming this as her being a champion of fiscal responsibility”?

What about Tim Bologna? No one knows what his views are on Transparency or for that matter other issues. Has Tim attended any of the last months Town Hall meetings?

NO!

How can you expect to be on Town Council if you have not been engaged it what is really happening with our town?

Connie Schoenrade, Jean Hillyer and Patrick Johnson continuously share their positions are on the Town of Double Oak challenges and issues and have been 100% Transparent on how they would govern while on the town council”.

4. Responsiveness

Good governance needs institutions and processes to attempt to serve all stakeholders within a reasonable time.

“The current town council recently failed in their due diligence regarding the proposal from Cross Timbers Water to repaint the Double Oak logo on the water tower at FM407 and Simmons. The council continued to take no action on the item and had it not been for the former Mayor stepping in and pointing out the proposal must be acted upon, or the newly painted water tower would not have the Double Oak logo on it and the town would have to wait for many years for the next repainting.”

5. Consensus oriented

This fifth principle is related to the decision-making process. When the decision-making process cannot accommodate everyone’s wishes, then at a minimum, the decision must be a decision that can be accepted by everyone and does not harm anyone.

“Last September 2021, Connie Schoenrade, Jean Hillyer and Patrick Johnson joined other citizens and protested when council was going to increase property tax revenue more than 9% which is over-taxation and council was increasing expenses beyond historical practice. We stood together with the town residents and because of the protests the majority of council members reconsidered and voted to lower taxes and reduce unwarranted budget expenses. Our protests were validated when the town auditor confirmed the town finished the year with another huge financial surplus.

Another example of working for the town residents and being consensus oriented.”

6. Equity and inclusiveness

Good governance ensures justice for the community. Everyone has the same opportunity to maintain and improve their welfare.

“The current town council at times appears to lack inclusiveness of the town’s residents. Especially when following up on items brought to the town council by its citizens.

These items must be followed up with acknowledgment and closure.
Connie Schoenrade, Jean Hillyer and Patrick Johnson are 100% for equality and inclusiveness in our town. Actions taken by these three candidates will not compromise on these principles and proper follow up will take place”.

7. Effectiveness and efficiency

Every decision-making process and its institutions must be able to produce decisions that meet every community need. Community resources must also be utilized optimally by the town government.

• Engage with our town committees and separate their duties if necessary
• Form new committees such as Economic Development to assist our Town Business’.
• Go out into the community and meet our citizens. Double Oak has twenty-three subdivisions, when is the last time a Town Council member visited your neighborhood other than to solicit your reelection vote?
• Begin dialogue with our town citizens regarding our future traffic issues
Organize, divide, and conquer, Schoenrade, Hillyer and Johnson are up to the task of leading the town council with an improved way to govern its citizens.

8. Accountability

All institutions involved in good governance have full responsibility to the public for the sake of improving the quality of its town.

Now that we are all presented with an overall understanding of good governance and its principles, let us talk about the role of local governments and how it is especially crucial for a town’s development.

“The focus of the Town Council should be one its citizens, as well as addressing crucial issues such as Roads and Drainage, fiscal responsibility with the budget, traffic issues, and other challenges The Town of Double Oak faces in the future.

Our Town Council should take advantage of putting people at the center of every decision-making process and be accountable in the process.”

Collaboration

Our Promise to the citizens of Double Oak:

1. Keep Double Oak a safe community by supporting our fire and police departments
2. Adopt fiscally responsible budgets to efficiently operate the town and keep taxes low
3. Transparency in our government
4. Communicate with residents to keep Double Oak the best place to live
5. Serve the residents and town with dignity and honor

We would be honored to have your trust and vote on Saturday, May 7th, voting hours are from 7 a.m. to7 p.m.

Connie Schoenrade, Jean Hillyer and Patrick Johnson
Double Oak, TX

CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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