A Question for the Independent Record


Whose job is it, I wonder to actually gather news?

Helena is experiencing a bit of a political storm as the former mayor and current director of the Helena Housing Authority, Colleen McCarthy, was recently put on leave by the HHA Board. In addition to two brief stories, the IR offered an editorial today called “Public Agencies Must Be Accountable”.

Powerful stuff. Until you read it. According to the editorial:

Correspondence from HUD and the board’s minutes mention a number of issues, such as resident complaints against HHA management, a board order to terminate a contract, and a possible conflict involving a banking relationship related to an HHA project, but without more information there’s no way to assess the seriousness of the problem, let alone who, if anyone, is in the wrong.

We can understand the desire to protect privacy, but it also must be remembered that the Helena Housing Authority is a public agency that handles taxpayers’ money as well as rent checks from residents.

All such agencies ultimately are accountable to the public, and it is difficult to be accountable while keeping mum.

Call me idealistic, but shouldn’t the newspaper be the group looking into this and reporting about it? Rather than waiting for another press release or official statement from self-interested parties, you might want to conduct interviews and do some background research.

You know…hold public agencies accountable.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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