Story last updated at 2:41 p.m. Thursday, November 7, 2002

Accountability, disclosure key to good government
"When government, in words and deeds, seeks to shield its actions from public view the public should be forewarned -- and suspicious."

-- Tony Mauro, journalist

Had it not been for the winds blowing around the area lately, it may have been possible to hear a giant, collective sigh of relief Wednesday as voters bid farewell to a three-election campaign season. The election of new governor Frank Murkowski on Tuesday means, among other things, that those ubiquitous signs cluttering roadsides and incessant broadcast ads overwhelming the airwaves will finally be gone.

It also means that Alaskans have a new political order awaiting them. The detailed meaning of Murkowski's landslide win, much like the details of his vision for the state, is unclear. What is clear, however, is that what challenger Fran Ulmer called his "pain-free" message resonated well with voters.

With the election behind him, it is up to Murkowski now to live up to his campaign pledge of accountability by articulating a clear message about his plans for the state, and then following through with it. There is much work to be done. And with the double clout of a friendly Legislature and favorable federal ties, the new administration will have no excuse for not delivering on its promise of a better future for all Alaskans.

We wish Murkowski and the new Legislature well as they roll up their sleeves and prepare to take care of the people's business.

A more local lesson in governmental accountability and fulfillment of campaign promises revealed itself recently in the events leading up to the resignation of Homer City Manager Ron Drathman last week.

Some council members, who ran on a platform of open government and full disclosure, wasted little time in dabbling in backroom politicking. After an hours-long closed-door session Oct. 21, the city council gave Drathman what appeared to be a generally favorable review. By doing so, council members also gave residents the general impression that all was well in city hall.

Less than two weeks later, though, word of a draft resolution opposing the retention of the city manager was leaked to the media, unleashing a series of events that led to Drathman's resignation.

Whatever the outcome is for the City of Homer and its residents, we hope that the less-than-forthright manner in which this situation was allowed to unfold is not the kind of government that will be common practice for this council.

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