Sunshine Week Highlights Need For Open Government
Across the country, this is Sunshine Week. It’s not about solar power or tanning– it’s about making sure government, at all levels, remains open to the public.
There is a constant battle between those who want government held accountable to the people who pay for it, and those who want to control power by controlling information.
It is the press, acting as agents of the people, who leads the fight against those who try to hide their actions behind the cloak of secrecy.
The most recent blatant abuse occurred when a faction of the Wisconsin state legislature called a session of a conference committee without proper notification of all involved, to ram through far-reaching changes in the collective bargaining laws for state employees. Similar action regarding collective bargaining is being considered in Ohio.
John Kasich, Ohio governor, has shown he likes to play fast and loose with open government rules by hiding the names of applicants for state jobs. He has scolded reporters for questioning government actions.
Even on a local level, the Archbold Area School District was not forthcoming about the cost to replace defective light poles at the high school football stadium. It took public records requests from this newspaper to get the whole story.
Open government isn’t just for the wealthy or the powerful. It is for everyone. The fight must continue.