Keeping an eye on government | RecordCourier.com

Keeping an eye on government

by Joe Hooven

Friends, families and co-workers pack the Douglas County Commissioners chambers on Monday to watch elected officials be sworn in.

As we begin the New Year, resolutions are being made, new memberships at the Pulse gym are expanding, and a lot of folks are on Google, searching for the latest consummate diet.

For the citizens of Douglas County, who envision a transparent county government, and ask that its elected and appointed officials are fully accountable daily to those who elect or appointed them, these are times that call for careful vigilance.

In November, the voters elected two new Douglas County commissioners. In addition, county commissioners named a new county manager. The contract for the new county manager will be voted on this month by the commissioners. Although our residents and elected officials say they want to keep Douglas County rural, what that means is open to interpretation.

With both external forces — developers, large landowners, and special interests — advocating for increased growth; and internal forces — some county employees, and business owners, imploring us to provide affordable housing to our teachers, sheriffs, and service industry employees, the future of Douglas County is up in the air.

Add to that demands to upgrade our aged and limited infrastructure, and repair our roads, and you have a new year that fully promises to be eye-opening and eventful.

The history of Douglas County harkens back to 2002 when the citizens approved the Sustainable Growth Initiative.

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This initiative limited new residential building permits to 200 units per year. Concerned citizens at that time formed a new group called Good Government Group of Douglas County. In 2008, a small group headed by Dave Nelson, Larry Walsh, Jack Van Dien, and Stuart Posselt, began meeting under the name The Good Governance Group. Today, The Good Governance Group has grown, and its mission statement, "To ensure that elected and appointed county officials conduct business in an equitable, fair, and transparent manner, and are accountable to the entire electorate," is more important than ever.

The members of GGG meet weekly on each Tuesday, at the COD Casino in Minden, at noon. Two weeks out of each month there are speakers, and two weeks there are open discussions. If you are active in local and state issues, or, if you want to learn and become involved, then GGG is the place to be. Many of the smartest residents in Douglas County attend the weekly meetings. The first meeting of the new year was on Tuesday. On Jan. 22, Janine Hansen, the state president of the Nevada Families for Freedom, will speak and conduct a workshop to teach everyone how to be a citizen lobbyist. She states, "learn how to effectively lobby the state legislature. Your pocketbook and liberties are at stake."

On Tuesday and Jan. 29, there will be open discussions on local and state issues.

Make plans to attend GGG meetings each week. GGG came together as a nonpartisan organization to keep an eye on local politicians actions and advocate for transparency and accountability in local government. In the new year nothing is more important. See you on Tuesday at the COD Casino in Minden, at noon. Admission is $1.

Joe Hooven is a member of The Good Governance Group and a Minden resident.