A local govie has the coolest job in the White House. Not something to be taken lightly.
I remember last year when President Obama initiated the Open Government Directive. I was so excited that it was his first official move, that I even wrote a short article at the time, even as a local govie. Many in government were and still are excited and hopeful.
One small thing, though. You, me, and probably everyone else commenting on this article – are a little bit different. We’re the type of folks who engage in government conversations like this. This is normal to us. I would pose that most citizens have no idea this discussion is going on. No idea what this whole ‘open government’ movement is all about, much less ‘open data’.
Why don’t they know? Because it’s local government that has the direct impact on their lives. That’s where they pay their sewer bills and parking tickets. And where the cops come when they call 911, and where they see the firefighters in their communities.
Federal government engages you once a year at dreaded tax time, and that season when you get bombarded with all those darned campaign commercials. Not the truth, but I believe many are very disconnected with what goes on in DC.
I see Chris Vein’s appointment as what could be a huge step toward closing these disparate perceptions. His understanding of citizen connection with the government closest to the people will hopefully help guide his vision of government innovation. His roots can help government connect more with the everyday lives of average Americans in ways that are most meaningful to them.