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Commentary: PUBLIC INFORMATION online and readily available to the public

Comment by Pearl Rains-Hewett

Posted 1/28/2013

 

I noted in the The Olympia Report by Jeff Rhodes Posted 1/15/2013, that “State and local governments continue to struggle with the need to balance transparency against the increasing costs of records requests, and according to authorities testifying Tuesday on both sides of the issue, there’s no easy answer.”

The I saw  “1/21/09 BARACK OBAMA SUBJECT:  Transparency and Open Government

Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public.”

The word transparency jumped off the page at me.

When (DOE) Ecology’s  Budget for 2011 was questioned? I looked for it online and I found it.
Where? On pages of 603-609 of the 704 page DOE report prepared by Marty Brown.
A BILLION DOLLAR BUDGET
When we asked, who are these Ecology people? I looked for them online and I found them too.
Where? Starting on page 610 of the 704 page report, all 1616 of them, paid DOE employees.
Indeed, It was right there, online, transparent and readily available to me, but only after I read 603 pages.
There’s no easy answer?  Really? How about enforcing the “readily available part
Pearl Rains Hewett

From the US President’s Pen…..
Transparency and Open Government

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

SUBJECT:      Transparency and Open Government

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

Government should be transparent.  Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.

Government should be participatory. Public engagement enhances the Government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities for public participation in Government.

Government should be collaborative.  Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperateamong themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.  Executive departments and agencies should solicit public feedback to assess and improve their level of collaboration and to identify new opportunities for cooperation.

I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]

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