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Improving open government a nation-wide endeavor

April 13, 2013

Open and transparent government issues aren't just local problems, they are a national concern that is plaguing state, city, county and town councils across the country. Activists in Maryland fight against apathy and bias in local government as councils in Georgia celebrate transparency wins. However, it takes a focused effort and the right approach to make open government efforts truly effective. Adoption of legislative management software and strategies can help municipalities redouble their efforts and take the right steps toward citizen engagement and truly open operations.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah has had a strong year so far in terms of transparency and open government work. Since 2011, the state has worked to enhance its adherence with open government policies and focused on integrating public awareness with its general operations. However, some feel that the state still has some work to do.

"I'll give them an A-minus or a B-plus," Joel Campbell, associate professor of print journalism at Brigham Young University, told the news source. "They rejected some bills that would have closed access to government records and passed bills that gave access."

Some feel that that Utah's state government puts too much focus on the media and not enough on general citizenry.

In Carroll County, Maryland, however, open government advocates have been disappointed by a lack of clarity and accountability in transparency efforts. However, according to Dean Minnich, a contributor to the Carroll County Times, the responsibility isn't all on the politicians. Citizens have to stand up for their rights to open information. Without public advocacy, closed door meetings and a lack of meeting management are bound to continue.

Other parts of the East Coast have had more success with open government efforts. Lake City and Clayton County, Georgia, recently saw vast improvements to transparency, according to the Clayton Daily News. Improvements in the management of government meeting minutes and data access have proved to be effective through more open meetings and transparency regarding budget, policy and other meeting agenda overall.

State, county and town governments looking to enhance their transparency efforts can invest in high-quality meeting management solutions from IQM2 to ensure that the move to public access goes smoothly. These initiatives will enhance citizen engagement and provide the first success on the road to true transparency in government operations.