Mike Pence didn’t waste any time getting to work after being sworn in as Indiana governor.I agree with the editorial. But there is much more work to be done. One issue that Governor Pence should take up is strengthening the power of the Public Access Counselor and reviewing the procedures that office uses in handling complaints. As I've noted on these pages, the PAC doesn't use the traditional complaint-response-rebuttal process used in courts and most administrative agencies. Rather the PAC simply takes the facts cited in the agency's response to the consumer complaint as true without even asking for input regarding the response from the original complainant. That too often leads to the PAC simply accepting the agency's spin and its facts, and concluding that the agency acted appropriately in failing to disclose public document.
The afternoon following the ceremony Monday, he issued 15 executive orders, putting a number of his core political beliefs into action with directives on ethics, red tape, aiding traditional families and boosting jobs among military veterans.
One of the directives requires every state agency to appoint an ethics officer charged with promoting transparency and integrity in government. His order also calls on the state inspector general to hold an ethics conference each year to serve as a refresher course of sorts on the topic.
This is an important step both philosophically and practically.
First, it sends a message to all Hoosiers that government will be operated above board and in the open.
That’s important. It underscores the issue’s importance and bolsters confidence in the democratic process.
Second, Pence’s order does not grow out of any scandal or particular problem. But by setting up a protocol and ordering annual refreshers, state officials should be better equipped to prevent potentially problematic situations from even arising.
In a democracy, it is vital that the public buy into the governing process. The greater the transparency in governmental operations, the greater the public confidence and trust in the leaders and their decisions.
The governor’s order on ethics is a good first step toward a fully open administration.
|Map of State Shield Laws (click to enlarge)|
"Compelling reporters to testify, and in particular, compelling them to reveal the identity of their confidential sources, is a detriment to the public interest," Pence said in a statement. "Without the free flow of information from sources to reporters, the public is ill-equipped to make informed decisions."
"As a conservative who believes in limited government, I know the only check on government power in real time is a free and independent press," Pence continued. "The Free Flow of Information Act is not about protecting reporters; it is about protecting the public's right to know."The saying is "sunshine is the best antiseptic." Corruption and self-dealing thrive only when doors are closed and the public can't see what is going on. The media, including bloggers, are the eyes of the public. There needs to be a shield to protect the flow of information to the media. Governor Pence is in a position to make that happen and to make his administration into a nationwide leader in transparency, openness and ethics.