(800) 995-8696

California's open and transparent government needs to be addressed

May 2, 2013

Some of the most innovative technology firms in the county call California home, yet the state received one of the worst assessments of transparency and open government operations. Analysis of government spending, budget information and general operations requires offices to release data openly, but the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) listed California as one of five states that received an F grade in this area in March, 2013.

California may be one of the most technology advanced states, but it is certainly behind the times when it comes to public accessibility to budget data, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Various news agencies and open government advocacy groups have requested that Debra Bowen, Secretary of State for California, begin uploading daily reports on spending and state finances to a publicly searchable database in order to enhance these efforts. However, Bowen has refused, stating that this approach could present security and privacy issues .

However, some cities and townships across the state have embraced the need for increased transparency, like Rancho Mirage. According to the City News Service, the city's district attorneys office will be holding a meeting to discuss open government needs and laws in order to increase awareness and citizen engagement. The city adheres to the Ralph M. Brown Act of 1953, which mandates public access and involvement in meetings and the decision-making process of officials.

Efforts to enhance transparency don't have to come at the cost of security, privacy or efficiency. Local and state government councils can invest in high-quality tools to provide clear advantages in this space and improve privacy rather than put it at risk, making Secretary Bowen's argument invalid. States and their city, county and town offices should take the CALPIRG study to heart and focus on investing in solutions that bolster transparency and Government 2.0 efforts.

IQM2's intelligent legislative and meeting management solutions can provide significant improvements to open government efforts through the automation of organizing and publish data to public databases. With the right tools on hand, local government offices can streamline efforts and drive greatly increased citizen engagement in a positive way. IQM2's meeting management software can make these changes effortless and keep costs low, with increased savings to come that will allow offices to focus on spending taxpayers dollars on more critical aspects of operations.