Open government a Wisconsin tradition
Open records and open government are part of a proud Wisconsin tradition. Wisconsin was founded on the principles of openness and fairness. It is shocking to see complaints about the cost of open records. Even more alarming, since Waunakee had “$349,269 in excess of expenditures” meaning the village had an additional $349,269 to spend in 2018 (Tribune Aug. 8, 2019).
The village clerk’s job description, per Wisconsin statue 61.25 (villages), includes: “allowing inspection of those records as permitted by Wisconsin’s public records law.” Cailtin Stene, like Julee Helt before her, has done a good job of ensuring this crucial brick in the foundation of our republic does not crack.
The Wisconsin Office of Open Government explains it well by stating, “Wisconsin’s open government laws promote democracy by ensuring that all state, regional and local governments conduct their business with transparency. Wisconsin citizens have a right to know how their government is spending their tax dollars and exercising the powers granted by the people.”
I, for one, am proud to live in America where our government was created for the people and by the people. Open records are a part of that tradition.
According to the Sunlight Foundation, Texas, New York, Austin, TX, Louisville, KY, and several other governments have decided it is in the public interest to proactively release datasets in a searchable format to allow the public to access information at will. Perhaps proactive release would be easier to anticipate in a budget formula. Waunakee could adopt this best practice and allow interested citizens to satiate their curiosity at the expense of their own time.
People requesting open records have a right to know how their elected officials are making decisions. Perhaps they received one response from one person and the village suddenly decided to change direction. I know in this instance I want to know what leads to minds being changed. Knowing what person or information changed minds is extremely valuable. Knowing how our elected and appointed officials think? Priceless.
After all, we all should be in the know.
Give your support to Food for Kidz
I support Food for Kidz – and I strongly urge you to do the same! This year is the 14th year that this organization is packaging meals for hungry children here “at home” as well as those in impoverished countries, like Haiti.
Did you know that approximately 3.1 million children die from malnutrition each year, and in the U.S. 1 in 6 children face hunger? Come and be a part of the solution to this worldwide problem! Our business and family have participated in this event since it first began way back in 2006! Since then, we have helped package close to 3 million meals! Yes – 3 million! One hundred percent of all donations are used for the ingredients to make the meals, and some of the volunteers will go and deliver the meals to the children in the areas that are in need. What a great cause! Again, I strongly urge you to come and support Food for Kidz.
They need 1,600 volunteers to meet their challenge to package 500,000 meals this year. The event is going to be held on Oct. 20 at the Waunakee High School. To donate, volunteer or learn more about this worthwhile, awesome and family-fun opportunity, go to: waunakeefoodforkidz.org. Thank you!
Jody Greiber & Family
Let’s keep it going forward
I would like to commend you for your letter from the editor in the Tribune from this past week, “A Mission of Love, all you need.” How true that if we could all do just that we would have a much better world. The traits you mentioned of empathy, creativity, compassion and forgiveness are essential for all human beings to live together in peace with dignity for all. The only Waunakee in the world can make a difference in our state, our country, and our world one person at a time. Let’s keep it going forward.
Sister Charleen Acker