Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Transparency Update: Menino, Yoon, Flaherty all keeping the public's business private

Those who follow my blog and my platform know that I believe that complete transparency is the strongest weapon we have against corruption and government waste. I'm constantly asking our government about how and where our money is being used, and what our government officials are doing about it.

Mayor Menino promised to be transparent with the budget process this year, but that was disingenuous. I asked him to provide an account of our assets, essentially what the City has on hand. He refused to answer, so I had to make a request to the Secretary of State who forced him to turn over the documents. No wonder Menino was hiding it, it shows that we aren't facing a fiscal emergency, in fact since January when Menino threatened teacher and police layoffs the City has put over 120 million dollars into the bank. I have posted the document here on my website. We now have over a billion dollars in assets, more than we ever have in history. Hardly a catastrophe.

I recently asked for a copy of the 2010 budget which was passed for July 1, 2009. I was told that it is not available due to revisions. How can a budget be voted on and passed and still have revisions being made? "The FY10 Adopted Budget will be published and put online in September." is what I'm told by my City liaison. So, the City Council and the Mayor passed a budget and it takes us 3 months to make it available to the Citizens? Not very efficient, transparent, or encouraging.

Councilors Yoon and Flaherty have spoken about how non-transparent the BRA is. I requested a copy of the Freedom of Information Act requests they had made of the BRA in the last four years. Neither one of them would turn over the documents (if there are any), and instead referred me to the City Clerk who wanted to charge a fee to look into it. It doesn't portend well for how they might run the City if elected Mayor.

When I'm Mayor, all notices, jobs, income, expenses, proposed legislation and especially passed legislation will be made available to the public without charge. I will work towards what I call the Total Transparency Project where citizens have access to all documents. That way we can rebuild the citizens trust, and get them involved, in THEIR government.


Steve Wintermeier said...

Amazing - the Boston Municipal Research Bureau (essentially a lobby for business and institutional issues in the city) seems to have a copy of the approved June 2010 budget with detailed analysis available on their website. But residents - especially mayoral candidates - don't have access to this information? How is that possible?

the zak said...

Please let our Massachusetts Ethics Commission http://mass.gov/ethics know more about Boston City Council staff director and Council President withholding Council public communications.