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Williamsville Adopts Open Government Policy

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Many communities around the country large and small are taking proactive steps to operate their local government in a more open and transparent way. A first step is often the passage of a resolution that commits the municipality to open government and the formation of a committee devoted to developing an open government plan.

I have emailed members of the Buffalo Common Council and the Erie County Legislature a draft resolution hoping that someone would take the initiative to introduce the item. Sadly all I heard was crickets chirping. Recently I forwarded the same resolution to the Town of Amherst Board and the Village of Williamsville Board.

To their credit the Amherst Town Board has forwarded the resolution to a citizen committee for discussion. The Village of Williamsville under the leadership of Mayor Brian Kulpa and Board member Christopher DuQuin went a step further and invited me to discuss the resolution at one of their meetings. I am pleased to report that the Village of Williamsville passed the resolution 5-0, becoming the first local government in Western New York and possibly the smallest local government in the nation to take such a step according to this article.

The resolution commits the Village of Williamsville to the following:

– Operating government in an open, transparent and collaborative way
– Forming a committee consisting of citizens and a designated staff member for the purpose of developing and implementing an open government plan
– The plan will set specific goals and objectives for a proactive approach to make more information available online for citizens
– The plan will be monitored for success and an annual report will be issued highlighting accomplishments and obstacles that need to be addressed

Local governments have citizen committees devoted to many issues and concerns but very few local governments have a citizens committee devoted to operating government in an open and transparent way. I applaud the Village of Williamsville for their action, hopefully the Town of Amherst and others will follow the same path.

www.reinventinggov.org