Sunlight Weekly Round-up: Commissioners Reject Code of Ethics Proposal

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Since we started this aggregation of blog posts, different bloggers have expressed interest in sharing their thoughts on issues revolving around transparency and accountability in government. We continue to support this interest. I am particularly excited about furthering the transparency blogging platform and this is why I am inviting other transparency bloggers to join Transparency bloggers – our Sunlight Foundation Google group.  For now, we understand that openness is an issue for both sides – as Amy Laff illustrates. But tracking transparency can be a challenge  especially in cases such as North Carolina’s government officials  who rejected a proposal for a revised Code of Ethics.

  • Commissioners in Beaufort County, North Carolina rejected a Code of Ethics proposal requiring its members to maintain integrity and obey all laws. Offering instead to “support ethical behavior,” the commissioners argued that the proposed Code of Ethics would be “another tool that can be used by people’s enemies” to attack government officials. Citing a report on the Daily Washington News, Chris Fitzsimon of Progressive Pulse points out how it is hard to violate an ethics code if it does not exist.
  • New Mexico Gov.-elect Susana Martinez may not be delivering the “bold change” she promised.   According to political bloggers Heath Haussamen and Geoff Grammer, requests for public records including applications for the state’s Department of Public Safety Secretary were denied because her transition team does not consider such information public. See how Grammer chronicles Martinez’s disregard of the 2009 New Mexico Court of Appeals ruling on the Santa Fe Crime blog.
  • Panama City, Florida is using Google Message Discovery for email archival in order to simplify access to public records. While explaining how Apps for Government is helping to promote open government, city employee Richard Ferrick notes in his guest blog on geo2web that city officials are now able to update information faster and easier. In addition to transition from a VPN connection, the city has also introduced live streaming on their  website to make past public meetings available.
  • Amy Laff on the Brief Blog critiques political candidates who pay media professionals to write blogs for them without disclosing who they are affiliated to. She believes that this practice tricks voters into thinking that the authors of those statements are objective bloggers yet they are representing the views of some one else.
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