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Moving Fayetteville City Council meetings to 2 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. is seen by many Fayetteville residents as another blatant attempt to mask council members' actions from the general public.

Without a doubt, the news media views this as a poor practice for transparency because it limits public participation.

Can you imagine the average citizen asking their employer if they can have the afternoon off to attend an afternoon council meeting?

Without a functional daily newspaper and with no local TV station, it's difficult enough to keep up and stay informed about local governmental decisions.

Now, Mayor Mitch Colvin and five city council members voted to make it even more difficult for taxpayers to attend council meetings by conducting them during the work day, thus hindering accessibility to local elected officials and openness of the decision-making process.

Kudos to council members Mario Benavente, Brenda McNair, Lynne Greene, and Courtney Banks-McLaughlin for defending their constituent's right to know and participate in local government.

These individuals understand the importance of participating in such meetings and how they foster community engagement by discussing local issues, events, and concerns, allowing residents to voice their opinions to their respective representatives.

Transparency in local government is vital to having an efficient, honest government. In addition to local citizens' engagement, an open, transparent government fosters a platform for residents to discuss local issues and concerns and voice opinions. Afternoon 2 p.m. meetings surely stifle those processes.

It's puzzling why our local government doesn't want to encourage citizen input and hear different viewpoints on issues affecting their quality of life.

The 6 to 4 vote to inhibit transparency by moving the city council's planning sessions to 2 p.m. is just one example of our elected officials weaponizing their authority against the citizens of Fayetteville.

We encourage our Up & Coming Weekly readers to be diligent and stay informed on local issues. Subscribe to CityView Today's daily electronic newsletter.

They are doing an excellent job covering both Fayetteville and Cumberland County regularly scheduled meetings. Tune in to WFNC's Talk Radio Show with Bill Murphy every weekday morning on 640 AM on the radio dial.

Murphy has interesting guests every week discussing current and topical local issues.

Of course, please continue to read our community newspaper. Up & Coming Weekly has never been shy about analyzing local issues or voicing an editorial opinion. Honesty is always the best policy!

Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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