Saturday, March 12, 2011

"ensure greater transparency in government"

To ensure a continued and consistent focus on the Open Meeting Law, Coakley created the Division of Open Government to educate individuals about the law, enforce the law, and act as a readily accessible resource for members of public bodies, members of the public, municipal officials, and the press. The division has focused its efforts on educating members of public bodies and the public at large about the revisions to the OML, establishing a complaint process, and resolving Open Meeting Law complaints. 
“The goal of the new law is to promote uniform interpretation of the Open Meeting Law and ensure greater transparency in government,” said Coakley. “As we move forward, we will continue to work with these governmental bodies, news media, and the public to ensure that we reach this shared goal of good governance.”

Read more: In first year, AG's office handled Open Meeting Law complaints, conducted training sessions 

Franklin provides a "Visitor's Orientation to Meetings" focused on the Town Council but generally applicable to other committee meetings.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a report that showed:

"... government transparency is associated with residents’ feelings of efficacy and empowerment: Those who think their government shares information well are more likely to say that people like them can have an impact on government. It might be the case that signals from government that “we want to be open about what we do” make people think they can take advantage of that openness and influence the way the government operates."
This report helps foster the activities that you and I have been taking here. Our engagement on the website, through the weekly and daily newsletters, and on Facebook are helping to encourage Franklin to do more in these areas. Franklin regularly wins an award for for government information sharing but it can still do better. One of the major issues with the budget crisis we face is the lack of trust in the information provided. Increasing the transparency will foster trust.

The full report can be found here: 

Franklin, MA

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