Do you know what open government is?
What about transparency in government?
I know you are familiar with what these words mean but have you seen your local representative in government (or any other level) operate this way lately? Would you like to?
Let’s take a closer look at these concepts as they relate to those elected to serve in any governmental capacity. These can be applied to any level of government service.
The word transparency has been used a lot in politics the last few years. Barack Obama promised his administration was going to be the most transparent administration in history. You can be the judge of whether he has met that goal or if just stating the intention was as far as that went. My take is crystal clear on this one.
In my opinion, the word transparency has been overused and misused to the point of being irrelevant when mentioned by a politician.
If someone elected to serve is really being transparent as they fulfill their duties they will not need to tell you. You will know.
Diana Oreck, the Vice President of the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, when talking about transparency said,
How active is the rumor mill where you work?
Would it make sense for those elected to serve you asked for your input periodically, more often than every four years during the election cycle, to get a sense of what you are interested in, your concerns and your ideas? If there was collaboration between you and those you hired with your vote to serve in leadership roles would you have more confidence in all decisions they make?
I understand we elect officials to make decisions so taking a poll or asking constituents what they think about all decisions is not practical or desirable. However, shouldn’t taking a pulse of what your constituents have on their minds more often than during election season every four years be a reasonable expectation? They do work for you, not the other way around.
Are you holding them accountable?
If you have expressed your concerns or suggestions to your councilman were they responsive to your questions and concerns or dismissive?
Did the officials you elected to serve follow through with what they promised or commitments they made when they asked for your vote? Are the results of their decisions and actions what was promised? Do they measure their success only by their intent or by the results of those intentions when implemented? Do their actions match their words? Are they accountable for the actions they take and decisions they make in their official capacity? If not, shouldn’t they be?
Open government includes Participation/Collaboration, Accountability and Transparency and with your support open government will be coming to Enterprise in the very near future. Exactly what that will look like will depend entirely on your actions or inaction AND that of your elected officials between now and August 2016.
Coming in my next post
I do plan to continue this discussion in my next post next week with an update on what Take Back Enterprise has been up to since I last wrote about them in March and April. They shared an update in an informational meeting held last month and my next post will share some highlights from that meeting I believe most of you will be interested in seeing.
A Final Question
Is Open Government alive and well in Enterprise or does it need tweaking or full scale changes to make it so?
How each of you individually answer this question should help you determine what you need to do, if anything, between now and August 2016.
I contend wherever Open Government is implemented and practiced, it will work almost 100% of the time too. That includes Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama and these United States of America. It will work for those in office as well as those they serve.
Until next time…
Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 6/1/2015