We want to know what our government is up to.
If officials do bad things or just extremely clumsy money-wasting things, we need to know. Then we can try to do something about it. Itâ€™s called oversight.
Oversight requires transparency. If officials hide their activities it gets difficult to learn what theyâ€™re up to. I donâ€™t say we should be told secrets the public unveiling of which would compromise our national security. But almost everything else is fair game.
Okay, I hear everybody nodding furiously. But government officials themselves arenâ€™t always so agreeable. An example is Diane Oberquell, a commissioner in Thurston County in Washington. Last fall, Washington state auditors conducted a government performance audit to see how responsive local officials are to requests for public records.
According to the newspaper The Olympian, this Commissioner Oberquell â€” I guess itâ€™s a coincidence that her name sorta rhymes with â€œoverkillâ€ â€” this Oberquell person went â€œballisticâ€ when she found out about the audit. Claimed it was an uncalled for â€œstingâ€ operation.
Hey, if thatâ€™s what it was, so be it. Letâ€™s have more of these sting operations.
The irony is that a draft report of the audit has just been released, and it seems Thurston County got an okay assessment. Not the best, not the worst. Middling. So why all the defensiveness?
Hmmm . . . seems mighty suspicious to me. Time for another audit?
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.