My turn: radical transparency is needed even when leaders don't - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My turn: radical transparency is needed even when leaders don't have all the answers

Gov. Roy Cooper speaks with WECT's Ann McAdams before Monday's GenX meeting. (Source: WECT) Gov. Roy Cooper speaks with WECT's Ann McAdams before Monday's GenX meeting. (Source: WECT)

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper didn’t have a great excuse for why he insisted on meeting privately with elected leaders before coming out to read prepared remarks to the public and media this week.  Cooper said this is the way he typically does things. 

But after citizens in this area have spent years drinking water laced with potentially dangerous contaminants, the time for the way we used to do things is over. 

We’ve talked about how Chemours should have had an open meeting last month with local leaders, but admittedly they had no legal obligation to even have that meeting.

However, Cooper and the others in that room this week are in their positions because of us. They work for us.  They’re accountable to us. And yet “we” were not included until the very end of that discussion.

Let me suggest something new…radical transparency.  Over communicate. Don’t be afraid to admit in public that you don’t have all the answers. Let’s learn together. It will not always feel comfortable, but we deserve a better way of dealing with matters like this.

That’s my turn. Now it’s your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

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Emailed comments from viewers:
I agree with your statements concerning transparency. However, let's not forget that our very own Wilmington officials also held private meetings on the water issue ahead of public ones. So I wouldn't confine your ire to just Roy Cooper...
I would go further and say that where public health is concerned, where such a basic right, to clean water is concerned, where the impact to vulnerable populations are concerned, there is no room for obfuscation; for massaging the message to constituents by, for example, spending $40K on a PR firm (like the CFPUA just did).
Perhaps it just seems this way, but every time former Gov. McCrory hit Wilmington soil, WECT seemed to treat him like a beloved celebrity with very few critical words no matter with whom he met on or off camera. Now we have Gov. Cooper, the tone of the reporting seems suspicious, even before Gov. Cooper arrives.
I am grateful for open meeting laws, but we must balance this with the need for our elected officials to discuss and collaborate regarding legal matters to get full disclosure and perhaps prosecute Chemours. We give the Chemours attorneys the upper hand if we put every aspect of the legal strategy and tactics to coordinate local and state legal efforts on the 6pm news. Yes, I understand that WECT wants the story for its own purposes, but that could be at the expense of public health.
You're assuming that the governor is on our side. He's only here to placate us.
The government, at any level, no longer serves the people.
Many of the issues we face today could be avoided to a large extent, if not entirely, with simple communication. It's a shame that our hyper-paced society fails to realize this until adverse situations occur. I hope more people, especially our elected officials, seek to become more proactive instead of reactive. 
I cannot believe that this State does NOT test the water used by the public at least quarterly!  Every place we lived, even Kentucky, always checked the water supply at least semi-annually.  What are these people waiting for, people to start dying?  This is what gives the south it's reputation as being just a bunch of inept hillbillies.  Who knows when some farmer is going to use the river as his waste disposal system.
Thank you for calling out Gov. Cooper and our local officials about the closed meetings. If there are no secrets to keep or bad news to hide, there is no reason to have closed meeting. 
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