The EU

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Being Open to the Press

For John, BLUFI know the Press can be difficult, but shouldn't State Government folks get some short training on being open and "transparent"?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Things like this just serve to embarrass the Citizens of our fine Commonwealth.  The headline in Reporter Chros Cassidy's 22 March story in The Boston Herald was "Commission's meeting on openness closed to Herald".  Of course it got picked up and past around.  I found it at The Instapundit.

The lede:

The State Ethics Commission preached transparency and accountability in a closed-door training session with scores of House lawmakers yesterday, but practiced old-fashioned back-room politics as it booted a Herald reporter hoping to witness ethics reform in action — a bizarre encounter that ended with the state ethics chairman ducking simple questions and refusing even to identify himself.

“Some would argue the first rule of ethics reform is transparency ...” a man later identified as Ethics Commission Chairman Charles Swartwood III was asked by the Herald as he boarded an elevator after the session.

“Can I tell you — don’t argue with me,” Swartwood responded.

Swartwood, a former federal judge magistrate, also scolded a Herald reporter for snapping his photo as he walked out of the State House and refused to give his name and his exact job title.

I just received my notice from the City of Lowell to do my annual traning in the area of ethics.  From the last time I took this training, it mostly seems straight forward.  That said, I feel constrained by the Open Meeting Law, in that it seems to me there isn't a lot of room for early exploration of ideas with colleagues on the License Commission.  At the same time I recognize that things can easily go the other way—a broad lack of transparency.

I wonder if Ethics Commission Chairman Charles Swartwood III was brought in so that the 200 members of the General Court could validate ethics training by attending the lecture?

Regards  —  Cliff

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