Mayor Brindle seeks transparency

Hi’s Eye exclusive bridges gap between local government and residents

Holtzman+and+Sumas+pictured+with+Mayor+Brindle+during+interview.
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Mayor Brindle seeks transparency

Holtzman and Sumas pictured with Mayor Brindle during interview.

Holtzman and Sumas pictured with Mayor Brindle during interview.

Photo by Ms. Shawn McDonald

Holtzman and Sumas pictured with Mayor Brindle during interview.

Photo by Ms. Shawn McDonald

Photo by Ms. Shawn McDonald

Holtzman and Sumas pictured with Mayor Brindle during interview.

Adam Holtzman and Alex Sumas

On Dec. 12 at the Westfield Town Hall, Hi’s Eye participated in an exclusive interview with Mayor Shelley Brindle to discuss her first year in office and plans for 2019. The interview was streamed via Facebook Live on the mayor’s account, lasting just under 40 minutes and garnering over 2,700 views.

While the interview was an incredible opportunity for the paper, the most noteworthy part of it was what the interview itself represented.

We live in an age where there is a hazy connection between the American government and its people. Americans are generally unaware of what goes on behind closed doors of government officials, and as a result, many are skeptical. To counter this uneasiness, Mayor Brindle has made it her mission to increase transparency between the local government and the residents of Westfield.

‘I’m really just trying to connect to people in ways that people communicate today, and I want them to feel that they have a personal connection to me.’”

— Mayor Shelley Brindle

She has already begun implementing her mission through posting on Facebook and live streaming town hall meetings and interviews, in which the viewer is not only made aware of current events surrounding Westfield, but is also able to make a personal connection with someone in power.

That was the goal of our interview: to strengthen the connection between the local government and the residents of Westfield.

With the live interview, anyone who wanted to was able to tune in and listen to a casual conversation between two high school students and the mayor of Westfield. In the interview, we discussed a plethora of topics pertaining to Westfield ranging from the parking situation downtown to volunteer opportunities and even touching upon the recent incidents of hate crimes in Westfield Public Schools.

On top of that, listeners were able to ask questions to the mayor live in the comments section of Facebook, involving them even more.

“It’s just really trying to let people know that what we do really matters and impacts our lives, which is why I’m constantly pushing things on our social media and on my website,” said Brindle towards the end of the interview. “I’m really just trying to connect to people in ways that people communicate today, and I want them to feel that they have a personal connection to me.”

Another important aspect to note is that Mayor Brindle requested the interview herself. She thought it was important to have the interview conducted by high school journalists because her goal is to not only connect with the adults of the town but the younger generation too.

After the success of this first interview, more interviews are to come. And with each interview, the connection between Mayor Brindle and the town of Westfield will strengthen as residents have the ability to truly see what is happening behind the doors of Town Hall.

To watch the full interview, head to Mayor Brindle’s Facebook Page.