Tamara Gulde 4 Ouray


Proactive transparency is key to a healthy relationship between local government and constituents. It makes for a healthy community. Therefore, transparency is critical in local government.

Open communication and accountability go hand-in-hand with transparency.

Digital tools designed for local governments allow greater transparency when efficient and utilized effectively.

Local citizens of Ouray expect their political candidates to be honest, have integrity, and work for the community’s best interests if elected.

Government secrecy, even the appearance of secrecy, creates an environment of distrust. Lack of transparency causes the public to be skeptical and is one of the reasons why citizens do not show up at city council meetings. What’s the point? When citizens feel they are not heard, even when they communicate directly to the city government, apathy arises. The public becomes skeptical, which further fuels distrust because the government is not transparent in how they operate. When citizens fail to pay attention, decisions are made without their input, the government is less accountable, and the potential for abuse of power increases.

Responsibility works both ways, though. The government needs to be honest and transparent, but the community has responsibilities as well. Citizens need to be informed and hold local governments accountable. But many people feel intimidated because they do not understand the processes of local government, and some fear repercussions if they speak out. In addition, many do not know how to communicate with the city government, and good communication can lessen the intimidation.

Good governance is a vital component of a strong community. Making communications to citizens more understandable and more frequent is key to transparency. Technology is a friend to local governments that have tight budgets and limited resources. Digital tools, like a fully functioning and easy-to-use website and social media, can unify the relationship between local government and its citizenry when utilized efficiently.

When public officials operate with integrity, their mindset is about community first and not themselves. They realize that the money they spend comes from tax dollars, and the more transparent the spending of those tax dollars is, the more trust there is in government. Citizens have a right to know the processes of government spending and the allocations of those funds. Citizens must be at the forefront of decision-making and are the supervisors of the elected public officials and staff. Trust is increased by open communication: honesty + integrity + transparency increases trust.

City Of Ouray Code of Conduct For City Council download here

Local government policy, code enforcement of ordinances and regulations, clear agendas, easy access to minutes and financial documents, budgets, and annual reports should be easily accessible to the public. Communication about how to access the information should be conveyed to the community repetitively. Citizens need to know how things work and how government officials should be handling things. They need to understand why things are the way they are in the city.

Citizens need to feel that their government officials are working hard to earn their trust and welcome their feedback. Therefore, elected officials and staff need to be friendly, helpful, accessible, communicative, responsive, and professional in their conduct, whether in public or written form. This conduct needs to be so whether or not officials and staff agree with what they are hearing. It builds confidence in the public’s view of the city.

When citizens have questions, answers need to be given. Explanations on decision-making must be transparent when there is an inquiry. Proactive transparency is key to a healthy relationship between local government and constituents. It makes for a healthy community for all, not just a few. 

Home Rule Charter download here

Home Rule Charter download here
What’s Home Rule?
The ability to exercise local control of city government by charter.

City Of Ouray Code of Conduct For City Council download here