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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

They're at it again....

We had a meeting at East Texas Council of Governments on Monday. Things were discussed, decisions made, promises extended.

The most important promise was by ETCOG planner and the meeting's facilitator, Mark Sweeney. Mark promised we'd get a look at the Powerpoint he was going to present at Wednesday's regional service planning workshop in Austin. He promised to e-mail a draft for us to look over. It's Tuesday and it's after midnight. No draft!

No such file was e-mailed to me or anyone I know of. It will be presented unreviewed by members of the lead agency team other than possibly a few members of the COG staff that helped draft it. This presentation tells the DOT what we're doing about regional service planning in East Texas. It must represent what's actually happening and who's really doing what. It might and it might not. Without that draft, we do not know and sadly, we don't particularly trust the authors of the draft based on the last 5 years of experience with them.

After the meeting on Monday, a member of the COG staff asked me how they'd done. I want to change my answer. This one thing would have at least made it look like they really meant to do what we asked them to do. Instead, by not releasing the draft file BEFORE going to Austin, the COG only further demonstrated an inability to understand how important it is to show us the draft in advance of presenting it and in time to discuss any problems we might have with the structure of it.

So, here we go once again. I'm positive they'll downplay this as a technical difficulty and nothing intentional. Meanwhile, we don't have any idea what Mark is really presenting down there till it's too late. Meanwhile, consumers who have been shut out time and again by just this sort of bait and switch tactic, grow ever more tired of being marginalized by an ETCOG staff that are really failing in their struggle to make the paradigm shift from provider-based to consumer-based planning (or even a blending of the two). It doesn't matter if it was an honest mistake, it looks like what it looks like and it don't look good and if you want people to trust you, you've got to look trustworthy.

One man's opinion (leave yours below if you want).

Tom King

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