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Turlock council lacks transparency

At the special meeting on Jan. 7, the Turlock City Council blatantly ignored and disregarded the public’s opinion. A wide range of Turlock citizens, from former council members to high school students, came to the meeting to express concern surrounding the termination of the city manager and city attorney. Many concerns were raised on the timing and necessity of the special meeting, which was called at 10 a.m. on a Thursday. This was incredibly inconvenient for many of the attendees and caused many to miss work or school to address the council. Residents also expressed suspicion on why a special meeting was scheduled when the council could have been more transparent and addressed this at a regularly scheduled council meeting.

Issues surrounding the cost of this sudden replacement were also brought up and many were frustrated that money earned from Measure A would be directed toward unexplained staff changes and not the road and park improvements that the money was implied to be for during the campaign season.

The Turlock City Council also left the public in the dark surrounding the reasons for this termination, which only added to the distrust considering that the current city manager and attorney received satisfactory evaluations just a month back.

Further, this would be the first act of newly elected council members Franco and Monez, who have not even attended training for their positions. With all of this together, it is clear why Turlock citizens were concerned about this sudden change of positions from the city council.

This concern was made very apparent to the city council during the special meeting. Yet with many of the members campaigning on a goal to increase transparency and break up bureaucracy, they refused to listen to the very citizens who elected them. More than a dozen residents came to speak against the circumstances surrounding this firing. Mayor Bublak, as well as councilmembers Franco and Monez, owe it to their constituents to actually listen and increase transparency. So far it seems like our new council members do not listen to the people and only serve as a rubber stamp for Mayor Bublak’s agenda.

While I don’t know the specifics surrounding this evaluation and dismissal, the people are concerned that this council is abusing their power and acting fiscally irresponsible on taxpayer dollars.

— Micah Littlepage