Open government should be on the record


Nothing should make citizens more uncomfortable than learning that their elected and other government officials are avoiding accountability.
That, according to the director of Pennsylvania's Office of Open Records, is what's happening in state government. Executive Director Terry Mutchler has sent a letter of complaint to Gov. Tom Corbett, citing reports that while in training on a new, state telephone system, "state employees were specifically instructed that certain telephone messages and instant messages on this system are not subject to the state's open records law."
Mutchler is right to be concerned. Technology, including instant messaging — which isn't retrievable — makes it easier than ever to hide conversations and decision-making. That's not how representative democracy is supposed to work.