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City Scene: Folsom strives for transparency

By: Kerry Miller, Folsom City Manager
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Government service is currently under close scrutiny due to some very unfortunate judgment calls by officials in other jurisdictions. I would like to take this opportunity to confirm that here in Folsom, we have always known that we are accountable to the citizens we serve and we continue to be very vigilant to maintain public trust. We recognize that citizens have a right to know how public money is spent, including how much local public servants are compensated. Each year the City Council invites the public to participate in an open budget review process. We post detailed budget documents on the city’s website and we invite and encourage questions and comments. The editor of this newspaper noted in a recent column that he was pleasantly surprised at just how easy it is to access employee compensation information via the city’s website at www.folsom.ca.us. As we told him, we began posting salaries for all City positions on the Human Resources/Salary Schedules webpage several years ago. We also post negotiated benefits information for each bargaining unit under Human Resources/MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding). And, we recently added compensation information for department directors and City Council members. As we serve our community, we strive for transparency and welcome public involvement. Residents have the option of attending City Council meetings, watching our website’s live streaming video, or viewing broadcasts on Metro Cable. Commission and Committee meetings, and all other public meetings, are also open for all citizens who choose to be informed and involved. You should also know that we continue to hold our senior management, supervisors and employees to the highest standard of individual ethical behavior. In 2002, the City adopted six Core Values that are still actively embraced today. Several of those Core Values are especially applicable in today’s environment. One such Core Value is “Integrity – We act with integrity, doing what is legally and ethically correct. We recommend the right course of action even if it is unpopular.” Another is “Professionalism – We are committed to excellence. We are responsive and accountable.” Other Core Values are Teamwork, Trust and Respect, Innovation and Workplace of Choice. We also diligently comply with State law requiring that elected officials, commission and committee members, and designated employees complete mandatory ethics trainings. We recently went one step further by adding a new ethics course for all City employees. The vast majority of our staff participated in this thought-provoking training last week and the response was very favorable. In today’s environment, government employees must work harder than ever to maintain public trust. We are committed to an on-going spirit of openness and inclusiveness as we continue serving our citizens. I welcome your comments at kmiller@folsom.ca.us.