It can be an uncomfortable business when public officials convene for the sole purpose of hearing from the public, as it’s almost guaranteed that someone in the audience will go into attack mode.
Further, that aggressiveness generally is the product of uninformed opinions, the lack of complete information or simply eye-poking for political purposes.
Yet, that’s what elected officials sign up for when they assume office and facing the public relatively regularly is the only way for them to counter the aforementioned situations.
More information is always better and that’s why the Ocean Pines Board of Directors are doing the right thing by establishing the practice of holding three town meetings in the coming year.
Too often elected officials tend to grumble that the public just doesn’t understand why certain things must be done and certain decisions must be made. Yet, they don’t do much about it, other than complain that voters especially should pay more attention.
Town hall meetings, however, are the antidote, both to their discomfiture and the public’s suspicion that they are purposely being left out of the loop.
Over time, addressing the public’s questions and grievances and providing them with answers and explanations makes these periodic encounters easier for everyone.
A more informed public also is a more understanding public, which is what everyone wants as officials wrestle with whatever community issues might arise.
Town meetings also have a way of knocking down speculation, deflating rumor campaigns and eliminating controversies. Three meetings a year will help with that. Come to think of it, four would be even better.