It’s hard to dispute the suggestion that a little distance gives a lot of perspective… it’s basic physics, after all. But the concept is accurate in other instances as well — as in the easy way of recognizing the error in someone else’s ways. Things can just make so much sense when the observer has a bit of separation from an issue.
It’s in the field of finance where all levels of government come under more scrutiny. Most spending decisions, ideally, are reviewable by members of the public who are interested enough to find out.
In some cases that information can be a lot tougher to obtain than in others, depending on how well the citizen understands the lingo being bandied about.
The degree to which budgets are arrived at, followed, and defended is a measuring stick for the government’s fiscal ability, and also its public relations savvy.
Handling the books is not necessarily any easier when a lot of people are watching, but at least when there’s an audience there is a chance that some good, free, advice will be available.
If enough people point something out the civic administration may take it under consideration. If the onlookers want to be helpful they may offer constructive advice.
Finally, comes the task of deciding which advice to listen to, and deciding how much merit, if any, it has.
The local municipal government may come across some of that advice in this week’s batch of letters on page A7.