Last week, Shining Rock Classical Academy held an event for “parents and community supporters” to meet the top four candidates in the running to be the charter school’s new director, but there seemed to be some confusion over whether the hiring process would be public or private.
Haywood County commissioners weighed the merits of saving money versus government transparency this week.
State law requires counties and towns to publish notices of meetings, public hearings and contracts going out to bid in the local newspaper of record. Newspapers charge a fee to print the notices, which add up to $20,000 to $30,000 a year for Haywood County alone.
The “fractured public square” refers to the loss of the place where a community discusses ideas, politics and values. The ideal public square can be both a bonding agent and a place where one draws a line in the sand. It’s not necessarily a physical place, but it might be.
What happens when there is no public square, when it keeps fracturing and breaking into smaller places and smaller forums? I’m afraid we are on the way to finding out.
In several counties in Western North Carolina, a showdown between the printed word and the digital age could soon take place. A bill has passed the N.C. Senate that allows some town and county governments in the region to opt out of placing legal and public notices in the community newspapers of record and instead put them on a government website.