City Survey Respondents Call for More Transparency
Fort Smith residents gave city government low scores in a recent survey when it comes to being open and transparent. Fort Smith city directors called a special meeting Tuesday just to discuss the results.
“I wasn’t surprised by the results,” said City Director Andre Goode. “I was more surprised at the lack of returned surveys.”
The city sent surveys to about 1,100 Fort Smith Homes and 324 responded. 59-percent rated the government’s openness and transparency as fair or poor.
“I think we’ve reached out to the community in many forms,” said Goode. “I don’t think that we actually have a transparency issue.”
28-percent of respondents gave the city a poor rating when asked about the overall direction Fort Smith is taking. “What we need to do next is find out why citizens believe that,” said City Administrator Ray Gosack.
87-percent said they get information about city government from mainstream media like television, newspapers, radio, and the internet.
“We thought more people were relying on social media,” said Gosack.
City leaders also plan to discuss the police department at Tuesday’s meeting. Of the 15-percent who said they or someone in their household had been a victim of crime in the last year, 28-percent said they did not report the crime.
“The survey helps us identify areas of concern, but it’s important that we not overreact to the results of the survey,” said Gosack.
Tuesday’s special called study session will kick off 12 p.m. in the Fort Smith Public Library Community Room.