Lack of transparency and user friendliness at the City of Richfield once again rear their ugly heads with the most recent submission of Ron Clark Construction’s proposal to the City. At the May 8th council meeting Council member Fred Wroge brought up the issue that he had found that the Richfield Patch had posted all of the documents Ron Clark had submitted for Pillsbury Commons before he had received them from the city. Steve Devich corrected him saying that the documents were posted on the City’s web site and that Patch must have downloaded them from there.

The problem with Steve Devich’s comment was that while it may have very well have been posted on the City’s web site it appears that the City did the bare minimum to alert the public (and evidently the city council) on a very widely followed issue. There were several RCU members that were waiting AND looking for the documents and had contacted the city on the matter and were told the City would post them by Friday. Unfortunately it was buried on the Community Development section on the City’s already unruly web site.

Unfortunately the City could have done much more to make it more visible and transparent. It could have posted a notice on the front home page of the City’s web site which it has done before with other notices on Pillsbury Commons – making followers of Pillsbury Commons assume the same would be done with this important document. The City could have an email alert system which other cities have for citizens wishing to be notified when important issues come up. The City could have even posted a notice on their Facebook page. Instead what was posted there was only one posting – an “out and about” fluff piece. Obviously they had some time on their hands. The City could have from the beginning created a topic page for the Pillsbury Commons development (as it should for all developments in the City) where all infomation and documents related to Pillsbury Commons is aggragated and kept. This is what the Richfield Patch news site had done.

While they may have meet the legal requirement, it is evident that whether intended so or not the effect was to bury a very important document. Doing the minimum may have been the way things were done in-the-day, but with today’s communications it no longer meets the standards of good government.