Finally, there is a small bit of positive news on California government. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office has taken steps to improve governmental transparency by setting up a Web site, www.reportingtransparency.ca.gov, that will publicly report senior state officials' gift and travel information. The site comes on the heels of reports (see here and here) that senior officials had abused expense accounts and travel policies. (See my previous post on this here.)
A Governor's Office press release announced:
Continuing his commitment to making government more transparent to the people of California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today launched www.reportingtransparency.ca.gov. This Web site makes publicly available the Statement of Economic Interests, Form 700, and the Travel Expense claims for the Governor's Office Senior Staff and Deputies, Agency Secretaries, Agency Undersecretaries and Department Directors.
"Since taking office I have taken steps to make government more accountable and responsive to the people," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "By making the economic, gift and travel information of the senior members of my administration easily available online, we are taking unprecedented steps to open up our government to the people -- yet another critical step toward more government transparency."
A few tens of thousands of dollars in waste may seem like peanuts for a state that is chronically billions of dollars in the hole, but turning around California's financial situation will be easier if the administration can lead by example. There is much, much more waste to be found in the state government. Lets us hope the administration exercises the same zeal in shedding light on government operations and eradicating waste elsewhere in the government as it did with officials' gift and travel information.
Here's a tip of the cap to the Sacramento Bee's blog, The State Worker, for its coverage of this story.