As I read the AP story on the Governor Dayton’s change of heart of openness and transparency, I thought of two things. First, the office has changed the man. Secondly, why did he say one thing and then change his mind.
The Governor stated in a AP interview, the public, “have a right to know what I’m doing with my time” and should know who he’s meeting with privately. If Governor Dayton strongly supported principles of open government he should not have taken a dive on the calendar issue. He could have supplied the calendar and do limited redaction for security purposes.
The action of closing off his calendar for public inspection, the top elected official in Minnesota, shows a mark, an indicator, and a symbol of how he feels about transparency and open government.
Mr. Dayton is no newbie to the political scene, a State Auditor, a United States Senator, he is well versed with elected office. When he made the comment his calendar is open for the public to see, he was not ignorant of what that statement symbolizes to the public.
Did Mr. Dayton take a dive on his promise, the answer is yes.
I have worked with Mr. Dayton for nearly thirty years on public issues. He is an independent and thoughtful person who makes up is own mind on the facts as he sees them. Why he made this decision confuses me. Did he have all the facts? Did he know that he could do limited redaction? Did he himself make the decision that he is an employee of the state or an elected official which can make some differences with interpretation of law? Or did the office of Governor just change the man?
The disclosure as to who meets with the Governor does not threaten, nor endanger the future, nor the decision making process of Minnesota. But the decision not to release the “calender” does raise inquires of campaign promises not kept, his attitude on “public right to know”, and who made the decision, his staff or the Governor.