Monday, March 10, 2008

Open Government Meeting Tonight

Monday, March 10, 7:15 p.m.
Allen County Library, Downtown, Meeting Room C (main floor)

The purpose of this little gathering is to begin creating a list of ways that local government can improve making public information more accessible to the public.

Opening up City Council
Link (JG)
"Several newly elected members have worked to open government meetings and documents to people. They say that in just a few months they have made several strides in improving accessibility, especially by using the Internet and technology, and newly elected Mayor Tom Henry has made similar promises.

“We can’t tap all of the expertise and intelligence of the citizens of Fort Wayne to help us in governing Fort Wayne unless they have this information available to them,” said Councilman Mitch Harper, R-4th.

Harper, along with members Karen Goldner, D-2nd, Liz Brown, R-at large, and Glynn Hines, D-6th, will host an ad-hoc committee discussion today at the downtown Allen County Public Library on ways to make government more accessible."


"Just in the past few weeks, the city has begun putting video of its meetings online, which Brown said is a plus, but it would still be good to have a paper record of the meetings so people don’t have to watch the entire meeting.

She said it would be great if the city could create an online database similar to that of the state legislature, which allows people to search for every bill and law online."


"The demand for public access to government, and input into government decisions hit a fever pitch last year during the debate over the $125 million Harrison Square project. Some project opponents in the public, and on the council, accused the city of not revealing enough information.

Jeff Pruitt, a local blogger participating in the council’s ad-hoc committee, said he believed Mayor Graham Richard’s administration wasn’t as forthcoming as it could have been.

“There was a perception that there was a lack of openness during the Harrison Square debate,” he said. “That was the driving force behind this movement.”

Goldner heard those concerns firsthand while sitting on the city’s redevelopment commission, which was the primary body working on the project. Although she said she was comfortable the commission followed the law, she said there was a general frustration from residents about working with government.

Harper said that furor could have been even greater had it not been for the work of some bloggers who tried to put all the Harrison Square information in one place. Harper has used his own blog to post City Council information."