The right way to serve the public

Politicians of all stripes routinely pledge to function in an open, forthright way – after all, is there a voting niche out there proposing that secrecy an smoke-filled rooms are the foundation of good government?

The buzzword is transparency, and promising to operate in its sunshine is on every pol’s checklist of must-say vows.

Find a candidate from either side of the gaping partisan divide, running for any office, who fails to declare an absolute commitment to transparency and rest asssured that candidate is doomed to failure – or running unopposed.

Far more often than not, transparency becomes increasingly opaque once the campaigning ends and the public’s business resumes.

So, when a politician actually makes good on that promise it is not only worth recognizing but should be celebrated.

Today’s celebrant is Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess.

On Dec. 7, Donchess will host a monthly invitation to all Nashua residents to join him for coffee, tea and conversation on whatever may be on folks’ minds.

The first chats will be held at JajaBelle’s, a coffee shop located at 182 Main Street.

Indeed, Donchess is hardly alone among Nashua officials who are walking the walk on the premise of keeping their operations above board.

The Nashua Police Department has held such opportunities for public input. The Nashua Board of Education deserves kudos for conducting its search for a new superintendent in a markedly open way, allowing residents to observe their actions as they made the call on who will serve in one of the city’s most important jobs.

It is, of course, a sad testament on the state of our nation that such praise is necessary.

At the very least, those who are charged with conducting the public’s business should do so without lingering in the shadows.

Every level of government has far too often been guilty of closing the door on its employers – those who put them in positions of power – as their most important decisions are debated and take shape.

The higher the level of government, the less chance there is that we will find anyone willing to stand in the spotlight and explain how those decisions came about.

If the new administration and Congress want to live up to their claim on power, they would do well to follow the example set by state and local governments that have opened their minds and chambers.