File this under "bonehead maneuvers," of the particularly blatant kind: Incoming Spokane Mayor Mary Verner's refusal (lately somewhat amended) to disclose who's on her transition team.
Put this on the list of things you don't do when you're moving into a new office. In fact, most transition advisory groups, at the federal, state and local levels, are happily spotlighted by the new officeholder - they are indicators of support and suggest that a bunch of good heads are working on keeping things running smoothly. They can be good confidence builders.
Except that in Verner's case, the Spokesman-Review reported on Wednesday, "Mayor Mary Verner, who campaigned on a theme of openness and transparency in government, is keeping the names of her transition team a secret. Verner met last week in a private home with two groups of about 15 people, who she's asked to provide advice and suggestions for her administration. She plans to do the same on Saturday. 'Some may want their names in the press, and some may not . . . I would like to respect their privacy.'"
Her last couple of predecessors (at least, and probably more) told the world about their transition helpers. So have mayors at Seattle, Portland and Boise when they came into office. So have the governors of the states, as a matter of practice.
No doubt, over the next four years, any number of people interacting with the city of Spokane would like to have privacy extended to them, too. (Not to mention the question of, just who are these people she's having these key conversations with, and what might they want from the city?)
This is not, to be sure, official city of Spokane business; no city funds are being used, or city powers employed. Still, in throwing this cloak over her transition, Verner sets a pattern (one she still could break), and blown good will and credibility. She's already drawn ample criticism for it from far and wide; she would do well to pay attention.
TODAY She released the names of most of the transition group members. But not five of them. That failure will be an itchy question for her that will persist until, one way or another, they do emerge into light.