ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – In an effort to boost public accountability Governor Kathy Hochul’s Office is calling on state agencies to submit plans on how they will improve transparency moving forward. Her aides have sent a memo out to the heads of state agencies as part of a “government transparency initiative.” It requires them to “assess ways their agencies can be more transparent” and to submit a proposal to enhance that.
Restoring confidence in government has been a pillar of Hochul’s agenda so far. “We’ll focus on open, ethical governing that New Yorkers will trust,” she said last month.
“Certainly, the spirit of what the Governor’s talking about would be I think welcome. Sometimes people in Albany forget that the data, the information that they’ve collected is public information and the public should have easy access to it,” said Blair Horner with the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Horner notes that government can’t be held accountable if you don’t know what it’s doing. He says the Hochul Administration’s memo indicates a clear break from former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Administration. “They were roundly criticized on an ongoing basis for basically a decade for dragging their feet on information that they didn’t want to be public even if it was public information. Certainly, the narrow focus of the nursing home information I think is really the clearest example,” Horner said.
Horner says while the former Governor did do work to make more information available on the internet, Hochul’s memo goes further. “Governor Hochul’s proposal is really to sort of force the agencies to not only review their openness policies but also to look at programs that they have right now and how can they do a better job of letting the public know about it,” Horner said.
Agencies have until October 20th to complete the task.