We agree with new McHenry County College Board of Trustees member Chris Jenner that the college is heading in the right direction with its decision to post more information online.
Starting this month, MCC will publish a monthly report of all Freedom of Information Act requests it receives, the outcome of those requests, and how much staff time was required to compile the information.
Transparency is something that most government agencies can be much better at, including MCC.
Government officials sometimes forget for whom they work. Taxpayers pay the bills, including the salaries of these officials. Taxpayers have a right to most of that government information. Given 21st-Century technologies, that information should be readily available.
Unfortunately, some government officials treat FOIA requests as a nuisance. They fight turning over this public information at every turn.
By agreeing to publish a monthly report of FOIA requests online, MCC at the least is acknowledging that the public has the right to this information. Good for them for doing so.
But Jenner wants MCC to go even further with its transparency, and we support those efforts.
Jenner, a former District 26 school board member, wants MCC to provide links to the actual FOIA requests as well as the college’s responses. He’d also like MCC to publish online all contracts the college enters into of more than $25,000 and a check registry that shows all the checks it writes.
These seem like reasonable requests, and we encourage the entire college board to support their implementation.
The more transparent a government agency is, whether it’s MCC or any other, the more trust taxpayers will have in it.