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How much is too much information?

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The Red River Valley Fair, by all definitions a public entity, has taken more steps to close off some of its information to the public. That's a move that many people, like me, who try to keep the public informed, see as a move to try to prevent something like last year's fallout from happening again.

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However, as detailed in the manuals given to fair employees, this "cover-up" might fall in between the lines of logic, rather than the hopeful lines of scandal, as some media outlets would prefer.

After Great Plains Benefit Group completed an initial review of some of the methods used by the Fair to govern its employees, the group has issued a sort of policy manual for employees.

Included in that so-called manual, which can be used word-for-word by the Fair or tossed into next week's trash heap, whatever their bidding, is a policy that calls for Fair employees to be more discretionary with their information. And it shields some employees from critical data like personnel files, bidding information, financial info and more.

Makes sense, doesn't it? Joe in accounting may need to know about who is bidding on the parking lot resurfacing, but he probably doesn't need to know the entire salary history of the guy working part-time in the ticket booth.

However, it would serve the Fair well to continue to keep the doors open and the lines of communication free with the local media. The group has turned a corner, so to speak, with a Fair last month that can be determined a pretty nice success, and a new manager that many find a breath of fresh air.

Because the Fair receives money from Cass County, and thereby receives a stipend from all taxpayers here, it needs to rise above the mire it found itself in. It's on its way, but it's not out of the proverbial woods yet.

* * *

A point was made that the West Fargo School Board would now have to spend about 580 hours a year working on District issues to earn their new salary, if they were paid the equivalent to minimum wage.

I'd be hard-pressed to find a Board member who, with meeting time and homework included, along with travel and testimony, doesn't spend at least 1,000 hours on their "job" for the good people of the West Fargo School District.

However, I hope that when the next contract negotiations roll around with the West Fargo Education Association in about nine months, that the Board is just as open to spending a little more for the teachers' efforts as they were for theirs.

It won't be easy, but the precedent might be set.

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