Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Increased control by the executive branch of any and all external communication by employees

This has been an issue for some time.  In DC, under the Fenty Administration, many of the agencies lost their public information officers, and communications came out of the mayor's office.  This has continued under Mayor Gray, when the director of the Department of the Environment and the Insurance Commissioner were fired because of external communications that the administration didn't like.

I learned this in my brief experience working for government in Baltimore County, when my press releases and certain external communications were handled by the County Executive's press people.

But it's a problem "everywhere," especially because officials don't like counter-information, criticism, etc.  WBEZ Radio in Chicago just ran a story, "Chicago principals say they operate under 'gag order'," about how principals of Chicago schools have a gag order imposed by the Emanuel Administration and some have been reprimanded for speaking out.

This is one of the downsides of Mayoral control of school agencies.  But it's a problem in any case.

"At-will" employees are always at risk of losing their jobs when they don't toe the line. That's why I argued in this past blog entry, "DC Government at-will employees need protections to tell the truth," that local government deserve protections so that they can tell the truth without losing their jobs.

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