Monday, February 20, 2012

Invisible Grand Rapids Township Government

I do wish Grand Rapids Township would do a better job of informing citizens of what it is doing.

Take board meetings, for example.  They tend to last about 15 minutes with limited discussion.  Since the documents are not posted anywhere for citizens to read, showing up doesn't help much.  I went to one meeting that a troop of Scouts attended.  I don’t think they left after 15 minutes with the idea that township government was very interesting.

Board minutes aren’t any help.  Take a look at any of the minutes posted.  They provide essentially no information on the issues in question.

And that is when the minutes are posted.  As I write, the latest posted minutes are from January 3.  There are agendas for meetings on January 17 and February 7, but no minutes.  The Planning Commission posts good minutes — when it bothers to do so.  Currently, the last minutes posted are for January 25, 2011.  There are agendas for three meetings after that, but who knows what happened?

The only source of information is often Jan Hulst, the Cadence correspondent, who publishes brief reports after most meetings.

Compare Grand Rapids Township with Cascade Township, for example, to see the differences in information available to citizens.  Cascade Township posts the details on issues in advance of meetings.

Or consider newsletters.  Cascade Township issues six a year.  Grand Rapids Township issues one a year — most years.  The last one on the Township web site is dated Winter 2010.

Is it asking too much for elected representatives to let voters know what is happening?

Monday, February 6, 2012

New G. R. Township Trustee

MLive has a peculiar story today (February 5, 2012).

I had applied for the opening on the Grand Rapids Township Board, as did five others.  When I saw the list, I immediately know the person named would be David Van Dyke, a person with some experience in township affairs.  Usually, the “winner” is the headline. 
The MLive, however,  headlines its story “Calvin College professors denied seats on East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Township boards.”  My colleague James Sykes had applied for the open seat on the East Grand Rapids City Council.

Almost makes the think that not appointing me was more newsworthy than appointing David Van Dyke.

In any event, appropriate congratulations are in order for David Van Dyke.