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Monday, September 15, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "'Transparent' Indiana government often elusive"

From an AP article by Tom LoBianco, here in the FWJG:

When Gov. Mike Pence unveiled his new $9 million government management system, he ran down a list of ways it would make state government work better before ending with the promise that state government will also be more “transparent.”

But last week’s rollout of the new Management and Performance Hub, which Pence vowed will make Indiana the best state in the nation at crunching big data, was plagued with confusion – and a lack of transparency. Pence said it would help eliminate duplicative programs but didn’t identify which programs he’d targeted to cut. Even the most basic question – how much the state had paid for the program – proved problematic.

The promise of “transparent” government is almost universally popular among politicians. It evokes the vision of a truly “small d” democratic government that is answerable to the people and supports the concept of public trust.

But the talking point of transparency often remains just that: a talking point. * * *

Gerry Lanosga, a former Indianapolis-based investigative reporter, authored a 2013 report detailing the many holes in the state’s public access laws for the State Integrity project. Indiana was ranked in the middle (C-) among other states on a range of integrity issues but was awarded an “F” for formal public access to information.

Lanosga detailed numerous statutory loopholes in the state’s public records laws. The Pence administration has demonstrated one of those loopholes with a flat refusal to provide the governor’s calendar to media, citing precedent that Indiana’s governors are exempt from disclosure under broad (and discretionary) rules.

Other public records requests can take months to fill.

Maybe it’s time to redefine transparency.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 15, 2014 03:55 PM
Posted to Indiana Government