Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Editorial on Illegal Republican Caucus

The News Sentinel had a fantastic editorial yesterday about open government and how it relates to the illegal caucus held by the Republican majority on city council. As readers know, a new public advocacy group called Fort Wayne Public 1 has filed a formal complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counselor regarding this caucus. The NS rightly points out our state's open door laws are lacking enforcement mechanisms but they can still be effective at keeping government open and transparent. I've posted an excerpt below but go read the whole thing:

Consider a recent controversy involving Fort Wayne City Council Republicans, who hold a 5-4 majority. They met in a “caucus” this year before a regular council meeting to discuss “recommendations” for appointing council members to certain positions. Council Republicans have been doing this for years, with little attention being paid.

But this year, council Democrats complained, and a new open-government group has filed a complaint with the public access office: When those caucusing also constitute a majority of the legislative body in question, the recommendations in the private meeting become de facto public policy decisions.

The complaint has merit. Whatever the ruling on the letter of the law, the practice certainly violates the spirit of the law.

Without the law, we wouldn't even be talking about this. With it, public awareness is raised, and public opinion can be mobilized. The practice is likely to change, with more open government being the result. Citizens will know more about how their business is being conducted.

That's not too bad for a toothless law.

The need for open government is one idea that all media can agree on...

1 comment:

Scott B. said...

Thank God for advocacy groups like Fort Wayne Public 1. Without them, who knows what our government would do.