Ohio Event Tackles Open Government at the County Level


Transparency in county government is unchartered territory in the world of open government, in part because almost every single county operates differently. In the counties of my youth, the “county” was just a name for the general area where I lived, but here in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, there is a fully fledged governing body at the county level which oversees the most populous metropolitan area in the state: Cleveland.

I’ve been working with Beth Sebian of the Cleveland Coalition for a few months now. Following a massive change in the administration of her county (which followed some incredible transparency scandals last year), Sebian wanted to make sure that the transparency her elected officials were promising would be the real kind: structural and cultural reforms that would make meaningful change to push Cleveland forward and rebuild the trust lost from the past. Sebian also has a solid sense of the role that citizens play in this process and on how to (try to) balance “2.0” participation in a community with lower tech penetration.

Sebian’s conversations with her county government, transparency nerds, Cuyahogans, foundations, and other NGOs lead to her creating the TAP Summit. The TAP — or “Transparency Action Plan” — Summit is, in part, a remix on the CityCamp model and part something new. I’m looking forward to reporting back about how the structure works, but for the curious, you can find out more information here: http://tapsummit.org

If you’re in the Cleveland area, you should come join us:


Where: Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs 1717 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115

When: (Today!) Friday, July 29th – 1PM to 5PM Saturday, July 30th – 9AM to 4PM

People of all skills, backgrounds, and expertise welcome.

*** Ellen and I were out in Cleveland earlier in the month, too, for a speaking engagement at the City Club of Cleveland. It was a treat to see Ellen speak as part of the much venerated Friday Forum series not (just) because she spoke well, but because of what it means to have such a historic venue see the importance of highlighting the modern transparency movement.

But, enough blubbering. Watch Ellen rock the mic here:

Hope to see you today or tomorrow, Ohio!