Jefferson County Administrator Jim Moore is a bureaucrat on a seemingly impossible mission. He wants to re-establish trust between Jefferson County residents and their government. How? By being as open and transparent as possible. According to a blog post from Moore:
Complete and accurate information is the best antidote to the spin and sometimes deliberate misinformation that has become far too commonplace in our world today. The most powerful force in a representative democracy is a well-informed and engaged citizenry. That’s what Transparent Jeffco is all about.
Jefferson County’s recently launched transparency initiative Transparent Jeffco is about “open government” and changing the way Jeffco residents “interact” with “county government.” This summer the county put online, in a searchable format all 600 plus procurement cards. Want to know how much the county spent at Bed, Bath and Beyond? It’s there as well as a description of the purchase or credit. Contracts and check registry are coming soon.
Moore believes that transparency is more than just financial. Jeffco residents and Web site visitors are encouraged to provide feedback. Contact information is everywhere. The Jeffco Blog is available for comments. And now the county offers video streaming with an integrated agenda for commissioners’ meetings.
Colorado Transparency Project Director Amy Oliver Cooke interviewed Moore for a podcast on iVoices.org. Moore reveals the specifics about how he and his staff, including Public Information Director Kathryn Heider, reached out to residents and employees about what they would like see; how they got two departments to coordinate efforts; how they overcame the fear of transparency; biggest obstacles and his goals for the future.
Transparency can be achieved when it’s a priority. Jeffco proves it.
Up next for Moore and his staff? Priority based budgeting. COST wishes every county in Colorado had a Jim Moore.
Transparent Jeffco quick facts: developed in-house; cost $3400; launched summer 2009; updated every two weeks or as bank statements come into the county; still waiting to track unique visitors; feedback ability; contracts and checkbook coming soon.