Monday, May 24, 2004

An open directory and a secretive one

State government in Texas has many faults, but, for openness, it shines compared with, say, City government here in Austin. Here's the State's telephone directory. Every department here in Austin is listed, along with every division of each department, together with the number for nearly every single employee. This directory is kept updated. Here's what passes for a telephone directory for Austin City government. Real, hard-copy City telephone directories are marked along the lines of "confidential: do not remove from building." Just try calling the City and trying to reach the relevant person. Front-line telephone answerers are in the business of keeping the public from speaking to anyone relevant, experience would lead one to believe. Is this open government? Both governments are subject to public information provisions of the law (formerly known as Open Records and Open Meetings).


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