Revisiting what Effective and Open Government means in 2018

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(The People's Roadmap Moderator) #1

In 2013, Effective and Open Government was captured as follows:

An effective government is a transparent, efficient, and participatory government. A transparent government has proven to enables economic and civic entrepreneurship. An efficient government enables good stewardship of tax dollars, opportunity, and collaboration. A participatory government easily allows for public oversight, government accountability, and intergovernmental collaboration.

The next administration should ensure that New York City is continuously improving its municipal data practices (internal and external), government accountability practices, and reviewing its procurement procedures. The first step is to maintain NYC’s Open Data Laws and foster opportunities to strengthen it. Moving forward, all city reports and the data contained in them must be presented in a machine-readable formats, freely accessible, openly licensed, and available in a non-proprietary formats. The structure of the data should be represented in its most disaggregate state with as much location data as permissible. Agencies must stop the practice of only producing aggregated and infrequent updates. They must take meaningful action toward a goal of near-real-time updates, including updates of disaggregated source data.

Second, the City should work with the State to adopt a similar open data law that enables city residents to look at all data generated within the city’s limits. Additionally, state-chartered authorities who solely reside within the city (i.e., NYC Board of Elections, NYC Housing Authority, Roosevelt Island Development Corporation) and private companies that operate as city chartered franchise (i.e., NYC Economic Development Corporation, NYC Bike Share Company/Citi Bike, and NYC Technology Development Corporation), should fall under the City’s open data law jurisdiction.

If technology is the pan and policy is the flame, together they produce a full course of opportunities for increased transparency, participation, and efficiency. To ensure a government for the 21st Century, the next administration must review and improve the City’s technology production and procurement practices. Council members and their staff, City Administrators, Community Boards, and constituents should have access to a suite of open and reusable tools that lowers the barrier for participation, increases government transparency, and provides a fertile ground for entrepreneurship. New Yorkers need better tools and policy that unlock the limitless empowering opportunities they have to improve this city.

This topic is a place to discuss what Effective and Open Government means in four years later. What progress has been made in the last four years? What new problems have arisen?

(Benjamin Chrobot) #2

(Alex Krupp) #3

I’d like to propose that all government text-based communication be made public in realtime as those documents are created, rather than years later as is currently the case. Right now the main way for citizens to participate in government is by attending public hearings, but by the time those are held it feels like most of the important decisions have already been made and they are merely a formality. If email and SMS-like communications with and between government officials were made public in realtime, then citizens could jump into the conversation on issues they cared about while legislation was still at its earliest stages.

In 2013 we lacked the technology to do this, but in the last 2 - 3 years we’ve gotten APIs for every major email hosting platform which make this viable. There should also be real penalties for using personal email accounts to discuss government business, not just “it’s not allowed but there is no penalty” or whatever the current status quo is.

(The People's Roadmap Moderator) #4

These are the crowdsourced summary statements from The People’s Roadmap Workshop – Queens Edition (November 9, 2017):

  • Effective and Open Government means my voice is heard regardless of citizenship status because democracy should be open!

  • Effective and Open Government means transparency because I want to reduce waste.

  • Effective and Open Government means community board meetings of the 21st century:

    • tech
    • translation
    • access without presence
  • Effective and Open Government means easy to access relevant information (ex. “you might also be interested in…”)

  • Effective and Open Government means I can see what my community board is dealing with because I want to engage without having to be there all the time.