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#85228

Kenneth L. Mullins
Participant

How do you define “government transparency?”
As I respond to this inquiry, I feel compelled to put on my citizen’s hat — to ensure that I contemplate my response in the context of “reasonable” expectations that I have of my government. Given that fram of mind, my transparency expectations fall into at least two major categories:
a. Expectations of direct government service(s) or assistance provided to me, or those near and dear to me (e.g., veterans benefits, social security benefits, Medicare benefits, etc.)
b. Expectations associated with indirect governmental functions provided for the mutual benefit of all citizens (e.g., national defence, administration of justice, regulation of commerce, etc.)

With respect to direct government services, my key transparency indicators would include these:
– how easy is it for me to get to the government service provider(s)
– how easy is it for me to understand the process(es) by which my “claim” is adjudicated
– how easy is it for me to avail myself of the provided service or services (once approved)
– how easy is it for me to appeal an adverse decision — e.g, the denial (or partial denial) of a “claim”
– how easy is it for me to compare my service level with that experienced by my fellow Americans

With respect to indirect government functions (e.g., national defence, administration of justice, regulation of commerce, etc.), my key transparency indicators would include these:
– how easy is it for me to understand the scope, costs, benefits, and planned implementation of newly proposed (or modified) government functions
– how easy is it for me to understand the ways and means by which newly approved (or modified) government functions are effected, via insight into actual-versus-planned costs, schedule, and other performance metrics
– how easy is it for me to avail myself of both current and historical data on actual-vs.-planned performance data on government functions being provided (and those projected for future implementation)
– how accurate and reliable is the data being provided by repsonsible government service providers
– how easy is it for me to “weigh in” on either the execution of approved government functions currently being implemented, and/or emerging needs for additional (or fewer) government functions (or on the integrity of provided government data)

If government leaders were to (effectively) survey their “customers” periodically, to ascertain the extent to which the above transparency-related criteria are being met, it would be easier for everyone to determine how much additional focus should be placed on government transparency. . .