Letters to the Editor: Jan. 22, 2014

Staff Writer
East Peoria Times-Courier

The importance of transparency

James Madison famously wrote in 1822: “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both.

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

While it is the individual’s responsibility to acquire the necessary information of the transactions of their Elected Officials, it should be any conscientious Elected Officials’ duty to make this information as accessible as possible.

Nothing less than the highest level of transparency should be demanded by the citizens of Tazewell County.

So, does the Tazewell County clerk see transparency as a priority today? Look at the website and see; www.Tazewell.com.

You will find missing something as simple but important as a precinct map or any other map of the political districts within Tazewell County.

Now look at www.ChampaignCountyClerk.com, www.McLeanCountyIL.gov, www.SangamonCountyClerk.com or any number of other websites of counties our size within the state.

The funding for this significant upgrade is currently in place, so this improvement would not cost the taxpayers anything additional.

The current county clerk has evidently simply chosen not to utilize it.

This is but one important and useful resource that is not currently available via the website.

Look at these other sites and see what else is missing from ours.

Here is another test. Do you know what your County Board members said or have done at a meeting lately?

You will not be able to see or hear their actions on our county website, but in contrast just take a look at www.ChampaignCountyClerk.com.

Here you can sit at home and see the actions and get an understanding of the intentions of their County Board members, making it easier to judge those actions come election day by having the needed information readily available to you.

Closer to home, take a look at the municipalities of Morton, Pekin, East Peoria or Washington websites.

You can see their actions, so why not the Tazewell County Board? As far as cost for this significant upgrade, look no further than the cost of a few video cameras and the cost of YouTube.

By the way, YouTube is free, and if your kid can sit at home and post on YouTube the latest edition of your cat wearing a silly hat, then useful information like the actions of those you elected to represent you should be available.

As your next Tazewell County Clerk nothing short of the highest level of transparency will be a priority for me.

These are but two examples of changes I would implement.

John Ackerman

Tazewell County board member