Your Voice: Farmington Mayor Pro Tem responds to council member’s op/ed

TO THE EDITOR: 

As a resident and taxpayer of the City of Farmington, I have the luxury of engaging the media at any time to provide my thoughts, opinions, and concerns regarding the operations and decision-making conducted by the City of Farmington officials. As an elected Councilperson, I hold myself to a different standard as it pertains to City business.

For instance, my “Sara Bowman” personal Facebook page is marked “private” and is filled with photos of my family, articles about running, and comments on events I’m looking forward to attending. Whereas my “Sara Bowman, Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Farmington” Facebook page is public, and highlights City events, local businesses, and remains free of commentary on decision-making by Council or other committees, authorities or civic organizations.

This prevents any misinterpretation that my public comments as an elected official could be construed as supported, endorsed or agreed upon by any other Councilmember. I do not have the right to speak on anyone else’s behalf, and I strive to refrain from the appearance of that particular impropriety.

Further, in my role as elected official I feel I have a duty and an obligation to speak in an open forum and provide an opportunity for involved parties to respond. Meetings are posted, an agenda is published, time for public comment is allocated, and Robert’s Rules are followed for that purpose. It is in this public manner that I conduct my City deliberations and decision-making. All parties are treated fairly, equally, and with respect.

Following these public meetings, I make efforts to keep current with social media responses so that I can get a flavor of public opinion by citizens who were unable to attend the public meeting. I choose not to engage or respond to social media comments as, I feel, it would disenfranchise an entire sector of the population not following that particular thread of opinions.

More importantly, to me as an elected official, I choose not to engage the media with my opinions on decisions or discussion by other Councilmembers made during open and public meetings as it has a twofold negative effect of potentially appearing to speak on behalf of others and fails to allow a public response by the parties at issue.

In this regard, I take great personal offense to the OpEd dated February 14, 2019 sent to this media source by my fellow City of Farmington Councilmember Maria Taylor responding to a joint public meeting held on February 11, 2019 between the City of Farmington Council, City of Farmington Hills Council and the Farmington Library Board. I am responding in the same public forum she chose in order to make it perfectly clear that, although submitted under the signatory of “Councilmember,” her comments do not accurately reflect this Councilmember’s thoughts or opinions of that meeting.

Sara Bowman
City of Farmington, Mayor Pro Tem