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Guest Opinion: Transparent "Open Government" is Good Government

Guest Opinion: Transparent "Open Government" is Good Government | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

[Guest Opinion by Joshua Hogan.]

 

Bucks County is now suing Jamie Walker in the Court of Common Pleas to try to hide emails which the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has determined Mrs. Walker is entitled to. As the Bucks County Board of Commissioners is currently majority-Democrat, I find this to be a stain upon the Democratic Party’s long-standing tradition of favoring transparency.

 

Historically speaking, efforts to achieve governmental transparency have always been championed by Democrats. The best example of this is how the U.S. Department of Justice has managed the Freedom of Information Act differently depending on whether the president is Democrat or Republican. Democratic administrations have always favored openness. Republican administrations have favored secrecy.

 

In 1977, United Stated Attorney General Griffin Bell, serving under President Jimmy Carter, released a memo stating: “The government should not withhold documents unless it is important to the public interest to do so, even if there is some arguable legal basis for the withholding.”

 

The current Bucks County Board of Commissioners, which is majority Democrat, has spent large sums of taxpayer money finding creative legal maneuvers to withhold information from Jamie Walker and Megan Brock.

 

The Office of Open Records, which was created by Democratic Governor Ed Rendell in 2008, has determined that Mrs. Walker is fully legally entitled to the emails she seeks.

 

Stunningly, rather than follow the well-established Democratic tradition of supporting transparency, Commissioners Bob Harvie, Diane Marseglia, and Gene DiGirolamo have instead decided that they will sue Mrs. Walker in the Court of Common Pleas, as a feeble attempt to keep their own emails secret.

 

In doing so, they show a clear fundamental difference between themselves and President Barack Obama, who said the following in a presidential memorandum entitled "Transparency and Open Government":

 

“Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government. Government should be transparent.”

 

 

johnmacknewtown's insight:

 

I believe in Government Transparency. That is why I I also created the “Improve Newtown Communications for Better Government” Facebook Group . Anyone can join and participate in discussions and suggest ideas for how Newtown Township and other local municipalities can keep citizens better informed of the issues and decisions made by their elected officials.

 

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Newtown News of Interest
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