Open Government Update

The first Open Government ordinance introduced by Councilman Mitch Harper has been put on hold for an additional week or two.  Some of the language needs to be worked out and is under review.

Two ladies from the combined City/County Land Use/Planning Department spoke on a zoning request.  One of the things they are working on is improving notification to surrounding residents and businesses about requested zoning changes or variances.  This will utilize the GIS services by allowing them to set a perimeter around a selected area and notify citizens of the hearing dates involved.  This has become a frequent problem lately – the charge of lack of notification to those affected of hearing dates.  Hopefully the new system will be active sometime this year.  The only thing I would add, is that someone should be allowed to subscribe to notifications for all areas of the city, not just a specific geographical area.

Speaking of Open Government, today from the City of Fort Wayne and Allen County Governments:

City, County unveil plans for joint public meeting information Web site

Web site seeks to provide easier and greater access to the public

Today, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and the Allen County Commissioners announced that work is underway on the creation of a joint Web site to house information regarding both City and County public meetings. The new Web site will seek to provide information such as meeting dates, times, locations, agendas and minutes. The Web site will also provide an opportunity for other governmental organizations to make their meeting information available.  The Web sitewill be fully operational in the near future.

“While much or all of this information is currently on the City’s Web site, it is sometimes hard to find,” Mayor Henry said. “This joint Web sitewill provide the public with easier access to information on public meetings by placing all of the information at one location.  I vowed at the beginning of my term to make my administration as open, transparent and accessible as possible, and this collaboration with the Allen County Commissioners, is a major step toward that goal.”

A joint City-County public information Web site was originally proposed by former City and County Public Information Officer, and current Allen County Recorder, John McGauley. “Communities are at their best when citizens are informed, interested and involved in local government,” McGauley said.  “A one-stop public information portal will make it that much simpler for the citizens of Fort Wayne and Allen County to be active partners in government at all levels.”

“Informed citizens make a community stronger,” commented Allen County Commissioner Bill Brown.  “Easily understanding the ‘when, where and what’ of public meetings will help people learn what local government does.”

“This is an excellent first step in making local government more accessible through the internet,” added Commissioner Nelson Peters.  “We look forward to collaborating with our city partners on similar initiatives such as integrating public access television programming.”

Press release on the City’s website – Hat Tip to Jeff Pruitt’s FW Politics

This idea was directly out of the first Open Government Task Force meeting held on March 10, 2008.  I also ran into Allen County Commissioner Bill Brown this evening at the City-County Building.  He stated that the bulletin board that sits directly across from the security desk on the ground floor of the City-County Building will soon be turned into a board of notices for public meetings.  In addition, a citizen’s suggestion box will be added.

Previous AFW Posts on Open Government


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