'Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle': Collier Commissioner Georgia Hiller on transparency in government

— Collier County School Board member Roy Terry and Collier County Commissioner Georgia Hiller are guests on this week’s "Naples Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle’’ program airing this morning at 10 on ABC7.

Terry addresses whether it was OK for a high school coach to grab a player’s face mask in anger, which school records should be withheld from the public, and expectations for new charter schools.

Hiller comments on colleagues’ claims that she instigates acrimony and gives her side of what happened on Oct. 3 at the Immokalee airport with Tim Nance and Steve Fletcher.

Text and video highlights are available at naplesnews.com/newsmakers.

Lytle is editorial page editor of the Daily News.

The program is produced at the newsroom studios of the Daily News.

Here are excerpts:

NewsMakers: Georgia Hiller, Part 1

What happened at Immokalee airport?

NewsMakers: Georgia Hiller, Part 2

What happened at Immokalee airport?

Georgia Hiller

Lytle: Let me ask you straight up. Other members of the County Commission come on the program — Fred Coyle, Donna Fiala, Jim Coletta. I always ask them first up about your impact on the official conduct of the commission, and they all say that you are the ... you’re the instigator of all the acrimony on the Collier County Commission.

You’re finally here. I get to ask you what you think.

Hiller: Thanks, I appreciate it. I’m one of five. I make up 20 percent of the vote. And when I was elected, I was elected with a mandate to bring true transparency to Collier County government, and that is what I have done. I have basically vetted issues in the public forum — as they ought to be, that is; and commissioners Coyle, Fiala and Coletta are not committed to real transparency as I am. They have consistently made every, every attempt possible to chill my ability to bring these matters out into the public forum.

So philosophically, we have a very fundamental difference of opinion as to the public’s right to know. Public meetings are for the benefit of the public and it isn’t about us walking into the board room and simply voting yes or no.

Lytle: So, if they don’t like it, I hear you saying this: it’s not going to change, and they have the problem, not you.

Hiller: Well, it’s not going to change from my standpoint. My commitment is to the people and to true transparency, and I will continue to ask the questions to raise the issues in the public forum; to allow the citizens of Collier County to be as informed as I am about issues that are material to them.

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