Thursday, February 18, 2010

Transparency in Cayce

In an effort to make budgetary and spending information more accessible to taxpayers, the City of Cayce began posting monthly revenue and expense reports on the city Web site in May, 2009. The city also plans to provide monthly check registers.

The new transparency program has been an ongoing controversy among Cayce City Council members and Mayor Elise Partin. Some city legislators are concerned about what exactly should be posted online and what the mayor should or should not post about her expenses.

“There’s no downside to providing citizens information about what their government is doing,” Partin says. “There are certainly many ways to do that. Councilman Steve Isom felt strongly about having the monthly check registers online and we’re excited about it. Monthly financial reports have been online already on the city’s website and now this offers an additional outlet.”

While there is still no agreement about what exactly should be included in the online check register, Isom said he wants to ensure maximum financial transparency inside city government. He also recently chided Partin, who he said initially rejected the measure.

“Words and actions must match,” Isom said.

Cayce resident, Edward Caldwell, believes the controversy among council members stems more from political jockeying than concerns over fiscal responsibility.

“I feel like there is a classic ‘stalking horse’ game inside the council,” Caldwell said. “It is a classic political strategy.”

In politics, a junior politician often acts as the “stalking horse” to promote the interests of a senior politician who remains silent in case the actions would damage him or her. If the measure proves to be popular or politically beneficial, the senior politician takes credit.

Meanwhile, the financial transparency issue remains unresolved in Cayce and city legislators continue to debate the issue.

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