The Minnesota shutdown created a lot of hubbub of how the public business is done behind closed doors. Deals being agreed upon without scrutiny, public and interested parties not knowing what money or language was being cut or added, even many legislators did not know what their leaders were doing. So what is a possible solution?
I recently read a New York Times article which intrigued me. The story is how a chief minister in India came up with a new way to be open and transparent to the public he represents and works for. He decided to place a web cam in his office and feed it on the Internet, 24/7. (approx ahead 10 hour difference with central time)
The Chief minister or an equivalent of a state governor, Oommen Chandy, states to the NY Times, “ I believe that we have to create an atmosphere where everything should be in a transparent way.”
The web cam that’s been running since July 1, has had 293,586 users through the midpoint of July, according to the Times.
Local and state government in Minnesota is not in the “state of affairs” that India is in with bribery and corruption from its high levels of government to the small local entities. But there have been calls for better transparency and accountability from the public for elected officials and employees for all levels of government in Minnesota.
If no one adopts the web cam here in Minnesota, which I think no one will—–What are ways technology can be used to make government more open, transparent, and accountable?
Though I can see this kind of set up being used if we are ever again in a shutdown situation where the State Capitol is closed to the public. Where decisions are made by a few people behind closed and locked doors.
Have the Governor’s reception room and whatever conference room is used for discussion set up with camera, secondly, have audio. The public would be able to see and hear everything. What do you think?
Minnesota would be watching.