Sunlight Blogger Round-up: Utah Transparency Report Card


The quest for “Sunshine” is not a one time venture. Indeed the summary of the blog posts below shows that the journey may begin with citizens questioning the activities of public officials as is the case with Hawaii’s Ryan Kawailani Ozawa who probes the state’s  selective publication of government employee salaries. But it certainly does not end at initiating ways to boost transparency even with innovative tools such as websites. Instead, we see that constant evaluation and assessment of these tools provide room for improvement and help us determine what worked and what didn’t just as Utah’s transparency report demonstrates.

  • According to a report released by the The Center for Limited Government at the Sutherland Institute, city governments in Utah need to up their transparency. The report, called Grading City Government Transparency and accompanying data labeled Utah City Transparency Scores, is an addition to a recently launched website aiming to improve transparency at a municipal level. As one of the recommendations, the report suggests including links to all public financial information, like budgets and audits, on the city’s home page. More in a press release posted by Jason Williams on the KVNU blog.
  • On the Wisconsin Watch blog, Kate Golden discusses Dave Zweifel’s column from Your Right to Know – a monthly column distributed by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and dedicated to open meetings and open records. She argues that complaints against lawyers who are on public payroll should be open to the public. See how she uses the Ken Kratz’s case as an example of how government secrecy can harm public interest.
  • Joe Albero on the sbynews blog announced a conference in Maryland that will bring together advocates and legislators to discuss greater openness and transparency in government. Organized by the Maryland Public Policy Institute, along with the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, the conference will examine how to increase transparency through legislation with speakers including the American Legislative Exchange Council and Common Cause.
  • From the Aloha state, Ryan Kawailani Ozawa examines the selective publication of government employee salaries. Highlighting the Honolulu Civil Beat’s, efforts to support transparency, he describes how city employee data is free though police officers’ salary information is not available. The Hawaii Public Information Law exempts police officers’ salaries from being published because they are “present or former employees involved in an undercover capacity in a law enforcement agency”. More on the Hawaii Blog.
  • Dan Malloy Governor-Elect for the State of Connecticut launched a new website to help residents communicate with his transition team. The website was created to ensure a smooth transition between administrations as Chris Bosak blogs on the Hour.