Avril Pinder, Buncombe County manager, reflects on county government’s top five efforts to restore the community’s trust.
- In an effort to open the budget process to greater public accountability, workshops with commissioners were held in public meetings, aired on BCTV and archived on our website.
- The Board of Commissioners’ premeeting is now held in public. Prior to my appointment, commissioners heard updates from staff in small groups before each meeting. This change allows the public to see and hear important conversations two weeks before an issue is voted on; the premeetings are recorded and aired on BCTV and archived on our website.
- Quarterly financial updates are presented to the board and public. I believe this helps to provide financial accountability by briefing the commissioners, as well as the public, on budgeted amount to actual revenues and expenses.
- We have refocused communications efforts to report more county news about our employees, services and administration. Showcasing the good work of our employees in the community helps build a stronger connection. We have developed more dashboards for our transparency page. These resources increase access to interactive, user-friendly data similar to our Open Checkbook, which allows users to view financial information. Additionally, we are preparing to launch an open data portal that will provide easy access to publicly available data from across the organization.
- As I work with the board to establish a values-driven approach to setting our priorities for the next five years, we have asked the public for input on our strategic plan. The county will hold a total of 13 public input sessions. I have made it a priority to visit with several community organizations to discuss this process and answer questions in person.