Some cities like Oakland are committed to open government and some cities like Buffalo are not. In previous posts I have discussed the problem with obtaining information from the City of Buffalo.

The City of Oakland working with Code For America have created a great app called RecordTrac. RecordTrac provides an easy on-line tool for citizens to request information from city government in a way that is open for all to see. The response time from city departments is tracked, citizens can see the status of their requests and more importantly all requests and the information provided is available for everyone to see. Posting all requests allows citizens to search for information that has already been provided and saves city officials time in finding and responding to information requests.

Access to information is an important right that many politicians give lip service to but do not back up with policies and procedures that make obtaining information citizen friendly. Oakland and Code For America have created a great app that can be utilized by other communities. All Code for America apps utilize GitHub, allowing for the application to be easily and freely redeployed by other cities and government agencies.

Perhaps RecordTrac can be implemented in your community?