Update, 3/25: Happy endings don’t usually come so quickly. But just one week later, Dougco has made and received confirmation on a number of online transparency improvements to now receive an A-minus grade.
If you’ve followed little old Eddie for any length of time, you know I’m a fan of the following two things: open government and the education reform pioneers on the Douglas County school board. So needless to say, when I learned that the group Sunshine Review gave DougCo a ‘D’ letter grade for transparency, I did a double-take. Huh?
After all, this was the first school district in Colorado to open and advertise all its union negotiations so the public could look on. They showed that honest discussions about important but sometimes controversial policies can be held in the light of day without causing any harm or great expense. Sunshine Review didn’t seem to take that much into account.
Going back even further, before the law required them to do so, DougCo and Jefferson County were the two premiere leaders in creating a searchable online database of all expenditures. And if anything, it’s even better and more user-friendly today. Not to mention all the other financial information they’ve appropriately posted online. DougCo also has gone above and beyond with a series of videos to explain the budget and budget process. Shouldn’t that be given more weight?
So what in the Sunshine Review formula downgraded DougCo so badly? Union leaders and other reform opponents hang their hat on a complaint the extra amount of time the Board has to spend behind closed doors in executive session dealing with legal matters. One Board member, Craig Richardson, explained the situation aptly: “I particularly find difficult to swallow the concept that parties can sue and then complain about the amount of time we spend talking to our lawyers.” Continue Reading »