A group of State, county, and media speakers discussed the concept of open and transparent government on January 3 at the 2013 MACo Winter Conference.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett discussed Montgomery County’s new “openMontgomery” online data public access program. The program makes certain county data available online in a user-friendly format.
Maryland Senator Bill Ferguson, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government, spoke about the balance between transparency and the practical implementation costs that are placed on governments to provide the data. He also provided an update on the activity of the Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government, including enforcement of Maryland’s Open Meetings Act and online disclosure of public officials’ ethics information.
Washington Post Associate Counsel James McLaughlin added the media’s perspective. He stressed that it is in everyone’s best interests to reach a collaborative solution to Maryland Public Information Act request problems. He did note frustration with the often limited government resources available for information requests and argued that governments can use technology to reduce overall time and costs.
Maryland Delegate Adelaide Eckardt was the panel moderator.