The annual town election is heating up as candidates vie for spots in the midst of debates on such hot button topics as the override and the ninth school search.

Of particular note this year are the contested Select Board and School Committee races.

This week in the TAB’s question of the week, the School Committee and Select Board candidates discuss transparency in the government.

Question: Transparency in government has become a common concern among Brookline residents. What is one thing that you will push for to address the problem?

Select Board

Bernard Greene (incumbent): Brookline is fully transparent. Disagreements with the Select Board is not evidence of lack of transparency. To address legitimate concerns, we should better publicize where details of town government are available (for example, the transparency center on the town’s website) and we should make our website more user friendly.

Nancy Heller (incumbent): The concern about transparency could be alleviated if residents had a source for regular governmental news about what decisions are made, by what processes, and for what reasons. We should encourage current news sources to highlight governmental activities that detail what is happening, why, and how residents can be involved.

Donell O’Neal, Sr.: There's a lack of transparency town-wide. Inclusion of the residents in regards to policy and procedures could be better. As a Select Board Member I pledge to be responsive and include all residents in the "process." Dialogue is very important. Residents' lives are impacted.

Richard Nangle: We need change on the Select Board and School Committee. Both are committed to school buildings on open space despite recent public support for expansion at Pierce or Driscoll schools. These boards selected Pine Manor College and Putterham Woods behind closed doors. These boards are the opposite of transparent.

School Committee

Barbara Scotto (incumbent): Transparency is important. Every meeting we hold, except executive sessions about property acquisition, contracts or personnel, is publicized and open. We have a robust website containing all documents and information we are considering. Being transparent is our responsibility, but the public must access and read the available informational as well.

David Arenas Pearlman: The core of transparency is fair, timely, and clear public communication to assure that interested parties know all relevant facts and considerations to facilitate an informed opinion. I plan to promote and formalize an inclusive process of bidirectional outreach that solicits and respects community input before key decisions are made.

Sara Elizabeth Stoutland: I will ensure stakeholders--families, teachers, staff, school and town administrators, elected officials and Brookline residents--have ample opportunity to give input in decision making. I will ensure School Committee communicates its processes and decisions in a timely and accessible manner. Straightforward summaries of School Committee proceedings could be in the Tab.

Nathan I. Shpritz: Brookline publishes a lot of information which can be hard to find, and is more a problem of organization than lack of transparency. We must organize material so residents know where to look, which meetings to go to. If elected, I will share links that provide information to important agenda items and residents’ questions.

Jennifer L. Monopoli: Transparency in government is vital. Elected officials must explain policies and decisions clearly, publicly and as widely as possible. They should proactively seek feedback and engage in dialogue with the community. One area for growth is effective communication to the public on explaining the process behind how decisions are made.

James Swaim: The School Committee is accountable to Brookline’s citizens and must work to instill transparency and build trust by sharing information openly.The School Committee must be approachable to the public by actively listening to and acknowledging all input. The School Committee’s decision-making process has to be trustworthy and open.