Tennessee blogger: Want ethics reform? Improve our open records law.

The Shelby Watchdog in Memphis, Tennessee argues this morning that what is needed for real ethics reform are substantial improvements in open records.

Citing a recent corruption case that sent a public official to jail, the blogger says:

…the single most important thing that needs to be done to improve public ethics is open records and transparency in government. All requests for proposals (bids), all responses to those RFP’s (request for proposals), all purchase orders resulting from the bids, the selection process for awards and the reasons for the selection, and all purchases orders should be available in real time on the internet. Also all professional contracts should be advertised and bid and the results put on the internet. Furthermore all salaries, benefits, overtime and pensions should be public information and available on the internet.

In terms of promoting transparent government, I really like the approach of mandating that certain records automatically be posted to a government agency’s website in real time. (The other main approach to reform is broadening the open records laws, so that when citizens ask for these records, they have at least some chance of getting them.)

At the WikiFoia, we just added a page where people can start to list Transparency Reforms like those the Shelby Watchdogger is asking for.


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