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Transparency is key to successful administration

I told a friend just this week that the fast-tracked inauguration, followed by two back-to-back Board of Aldermen meetings, is a little like being thrown into the deep end of the pool and hearing someone holler, “Hope you can swim!”

My friend reminded me, “But the good news is you have been thrown in the pool before.” I thanked him for the reassurance. Truly, the lessons learned from having served as a mayor before are already coming in handy.

One of the best things I have learned along the way is the importance of transparency. This article, the first of our new weekly column “From the Mayor’s Desk,” will be an important aspect of this transparency.

It is important to stay connected to the voters we answer to. It all boils down to trust. Think of it as a relationship, where the key factor in building and maintaining trust is communication. In the next four years expect to get a lot of communication out of this mayor.

Transparency is why we have returned to meetings in public, in spite of the pandemic — and this is why we also have, right out of the gate, begun live-streaming our meetings.

Voters can now have a front-row seat at every board of aldermen meeting — just tune into Facebook (the City of Natchez’s Facebook page or my Mayor’s Facebook page. The city also has a YouTube channel). Board meetings occur twice a month, the second Tuesday at 11 a.m. and the fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m.

In addition to this, we are going to be following the Open Meetings Act more closely than ever — city business is going to be conducted in the open. And when privacy dictates an executive session from time-to-time, such as for personnel matters, matters of potential litigation or other legal issues, a full report of these actions will be given and the law will be followed.

Over the next four years, we will continue to maintain a strong presence on social media and on the radio.

During the pandemic, we have seen a great benefit in this. Our Natchez Renewal Live program will continue each week, at six on Tuesday evenings, both on Facebook and on WTYJ 97.7 — except each fourth Tuesday, which is board meeting night. This important half hour each week will include conversation on various city issues.

We will soon be introducing a new program, “COVID Current,” which will be aired live on Facebook each week to allow conversation about the most up-to-date facts and statistics relating to COVID-19 as it affects our city.

So stay tuned! Our Natchez Renewal is underway, and we have a lot of great information soon to be headed your way.

Dan Gibson is the mayor of Natchez.

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