TenHaken continues to allow city employees to be hamstrung

We are already seeing the affects of the Home Rule Charter going straight to the head of the new mayor;

Mayor Paul TenHaken won’t repeal a Huether-era executive order that threatens punishment for city employees who share confidential information with the public, despite previously saying he would.

I can about imagine the line of BS he was fed from the HR department about keeping this order;

“Rather than continue the practice of having employees sign confidentiality statements, we felt it would be more efficient to place this provision in policy,” O’Toole wrote in an email then.

But confidentiality in different departments means different things, and that is why a ‘blanket’ policy makes NO sense.

Brekke, though, still believes some of the language in the confidentiality executive order is too vague, especially phrases that say city employees shall not share “sensitive information” and only when it’s related to the “business necessity” of the city.

Because those phrases, Brekke said, aren’t strictly defined, it could be causing “a chilling effect” when it comes to city staff’s willingness to share the government’s business with the public and the media.

“I still think it should be rewritten because I still don’t think it’s appropriate for government,” she said. “That might be appropriate if you work for Apple computers, and you can’t let anything leak out of your system. But when you’re working in government, that kind of policy is overly broad.”

If a full repeal is off the table, Brekke said she hopes to have more conversations with both the mayor and O’Toole about softening the executive order or better defining what is and isn’t confidential.

TenHaken said that’s not out of the question.

“There’s really been no issue with it as it’s currently set up. It’s more optics, and I think that’s what Janet wants to address,” he said. “It’s a new day and maybe we could soften it to make sure city employees are comfortable sharing information.”

If I was Brekke, I would take action with council legislation. During the campaign, the public spoke loud and clear, we need MORE transparency in government, not more of the same. But with this issue, Legacy hiring Ketchum and the fiasco with Public Input, it seems that TenHaken is just giving ‘transparency’ lip service and little else.

A charter revision dictated by a petition drive and voters may be on the horizon, sooner, rather than later.



2 comments ↓

#1 JKC on 06.21.18 at 6:38 pm

I think that keeping things “Top Secret” or “Eyes Only” is important though. Because you never know when we might go to war as a city against Putin, or say, Sioux City.

But seriously, this attempt by the City to keep “secrets” reminds me of when Rounds, as governor, wouldn’t release the ‘Governor’s Hunt’ invite list, or when Cheney didn’t want to disclose the names of the energy companies, which were invited to the West Wing to discuss energy policy and strategy.

#SecrecyInvitesCorruption

#2 D@ily Spin on 06.21.18 at 10:14 pm

I’m reminded of Watergate. There’s a reason to hide actions because they’re inappropriate if not illegal. Brekke is surfacing as constitutional rule of law friendly. There’s so much debt that this regime has nothing better to do than refocus and restore government of the people.

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