Many communities around the country large and small are taking proactive steps to operate their local government in a more open and transparent way. A first step is often the passage of a resolution that commits the municipality to open government and the formation of a committee devoted to developing an open government plan.

I have emailed members of the Buffalo Common Council and the Erie County Legislature a draft resolution hoping that someone would take the initiative to introduce the item. Sadly all I heard was crickets chirping. Recently I forwarded the same resolution to the Town of Amherst Board and the Village of Williamsville Board.

To their credit the Amherst Town Board has forwarded the resolution to a citizen committee for discussion. The Village of Williamsville under the leadership of Mayor Brian Kulpa and Board member Christopher Duquin went a step further and invited me to discuss the resolution at one of their meetings. I am pleased to report that the Village of Williamsville passed the resolution 5-0, becoming the first local government in Western New York and possibly the smallest local government in the nation to take such a step according to this article.

The resolution commits the Village of Williamsville to the following:

– Operating government in an open, transparent and collaborative way
– Forming a committee consisting of citizens and a designated staff member for the purpose of developing and implementing an open government plan
– The plan will set specific goals and objectives for a proactive approach to make more information available online for citizens
– The plan will be monitored for success and an annual report will be issued highlighting accomplishments and obstacles that need to be addressed

Local governments have citizen committees devoted to many issues and concerns but very few local governments have a citizens committee devoted to operating government in an open and transparent way. I applaud the Village of Williamsville for their action, hopefully the Town of Amherst and others will follow the same path.

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.