Opinion: Project X disclosure: Open government does not come with caveats

Silence is not always golden. In fact there are times when it can be outright dangerous.

Such was the case Monday when the the Washington County officials refused to name the intended beneficiary of a generous taxpayer-backed $1 million economic development incentive package approved by a 19-4 vote of the County Commission.


Is a Public Official’s Calendar a Public Record?

It’s a pretty simple question for a public official: “What exactly do you do with your time?” Sometimes, the best way to answer that question is to obtain the official’s calendar, through the state’s open records law.

In my work as a reporter, I’ve done this for the state treasurer and his staff, who work for an office with few official duties. I’ve also used the monthly calendars of Gov. Scott Walker to plot his travel and track his day-to-day meetings.


EDITORIAL: City did the right thing in improving citizen access

We all say we want transparent government, but each legislative session, numerous bills are introduced to limit what you can learn about government operations. Every week, legitimate requests for information are rejected or ignored. Bit by bit, exemption by exemption, governments advocate for less public access, not more.

That’s why it is refreshing to see the Port Townsend City Council (WA) actually making it easier for people to access information and participate in government deliberations.
Jefferson Healthcare Help Wanted


Open data partnership between city and county of Durham, NC

Open data has found the most innovation at the local government level. While not taking away from the efforts of data.gov and the state initiatives, local data has more impact on the day to day lives of civil society. A wealth of city and county public data exists, but accessing it can sometimes be time consuming. Now, thanks to a new local government partnership, open data in Durham is just months away from becoming a reality.


Editorial: Government transparency can always improve

Closed sessions are simply a fact of life for governmental bodies. If you haven’t witnessed a board going into closed session, you simply haven’t attended enough meetings.

Lately, the Rowan County Commission’s agenda contained one closed session a week. The most recent ones concerned the former Salisbury Mall, now West End Plaza. Before that, there were a couple of closed sessions pertaining to hiring Aaron Church as the new county manager.