The state of Iowa is forming an agency dedicated to enforcing open government.

With approval obtained from the state legislature the governor will appoint a nine-member board that includes up to three media representatives and three local government officials. The board will have the ability to fine representatives of many state executive branch departments or local governments such as schools, cities and counties from $100 to $500 for violations and from $1,000 to $2,500 for knowing violations, a situation that advocates say would be rare.

I don’t agree with the fact that the governor’s office as well as the legislative and judicial branches of Iowa government are exempt from the enforcement legislation.

Getting information from government officials should be easy but in many instances it is not. Often times open government laws do not have any real teeth in terms of consequences for government officials that violate the law. In New York State if one sues to obtain public records and wins the court may require the losing side to pay for your attorney fees. Other than that there are no real consequences other than media embarassment to enforce open government laws.

Iowa is on the right track and other municipalities should follow suit.

www.reinventinggov.org

About The Author

The definition of reinvent is:to replace with an entirely new version, to make over completely, to recast something familiar or old into a different form.In my opinion we need to reinvent government, business and ourselves. Today’s world is about constant change driven by the power of new ideas.For the past 17 years as an attorney, I have worked in government at the county, city, authority and school district level in the Buffalo, NY area. I have seen first hand the need for reinventing how government operates. For a period of four years, I served as Chief of Staff to the 9 member City of Buffalo Common Council. Government must engage the talents and skills of its citizens by becoming more collaborative and transparent in its decision-making and operations. Utilizing technology as a tool to engage citizens is something all governments need to explore.I have great respect for entrepreneurs as they put their passion into a vision, which results in new products, new services and new jobs. Entrepreneurs are on the front lines of change. As an adjunct college instructor, I see how students and everyone for that matter must continually change and reinvent themselves to survive and be successful in today’s crazy world economy.Some of my favorite change agent writers are Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Gary Hamel and Guy Kawasaki. I welcome the opportunity to meet new people, to further my own learning and to share ideas.On a personal note I am 47 years old, my other half Cheryl is an attorney in private practice and together we have three children, Michael age 20 and Joseph age 14 and our newest shock of an addition Julia, born 11/2/11.

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