On July 14, the Payson Roundup Editorial Board asked for one thing from the mayor's task forces: Transparency. We supported their mission and the mayor's efforts to involve the citizenry in the direction of the town of Payson.
Since then, a list of task forces has been released to the public and printed in this newspaper. The list included task forces focusing efforts on everything from affordable housing to public safety.
At several points since July 14, chairs of various task forces have invited reporters to their meetings -- invitations we have gratefully accepted.
But there has been one troubling trend in all of this. There is one task force that has repeatedly refused to release a list of its members to the public -- the water task force.
The only list we have seen was one released to us at the beginning of August and published in the Aug. 8 edition of the Roundup. This list included Lynn Godfrey, Bob Edwards, Joel Mona, Dan Adams, Willard Cox, Chris Benjamin, Don Meloche, Don Schendel, Bill Hartsell, Ed Welge, Dick Reese, John Breninger, Jerry Eller, Stewart Allen, Chuck Heron and Karen Probert.
Immediately after the list was published, we received a call telling us it was a preliminary draft and did not necessarily reflect the final membership of the task forces.
When an updated list of task forces came out in the Roundup on Aug. 25, the water task force only listed chairperson Lynn Godfrey.
Godrey said his members were concerned they would receive calls at home if their names were released.
Water is a driving political issue in our area. It has divided our community and it will steer our future. For the people researching this issue, to do so in secret is unacceptable.
The water task force is not a decision-making body, but their recommendations will have the ear of those who are decision makers.
We believe the water task force has the community's best interests at heart, but when anything happens behind closed doors, it breeds distrust.
Water is too important for the community to be pacing the hallway, waiting for the meeting to adjourn and our fate to be announced.
Ironically, in an Aug. 24 press conference, Godfrey said one of the main goals of the water task force was to re-establish public trust.
We will not let up on this point. The names of the water task force need to be made public. There is a lot at stake here -- both in taxpayer dollars and in our community's future -- and we would like to know whose hands are on the steering wheel.