Panolian Editorial

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mississippi needs to improve release of information

Information published last week concerning amount of pay and overtime for county employees brought an interesting barrage of comments to

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We have entered the information age and those paying attention need to have prepared themselves for an onslaught of information, whether it’s Hollywood gossip or public records.

Mississippi lags behind in making those records available to the public. Currently there is debate over what is reasonable in the amount charged by an agency who provides records that are deemed public.

Those records generally involve decisions, payments and policy made by government officials and/or paid for by citizens in the form of taxes and fees. Many citizens that may have let this roadblock to public access slide during times of prosperity, may rethink their stance now during times of economic hardship.

When one is being charged taxes on his home, business, car, inventory, restaurant tab, garbage collection and assets, you would think they want to be sure their taxes are being spent both wisely and frugally.

When one no longer has a job or hours of work have been reduced and/or who are facing a lifestyle change due to economic conditions, you can rest assured that they want their government to be just as frugal as they are having to be.

Making transparent records of public expense and policy allows light to shine on government resulting in less room for abuse, malfeasance and cronyism.

The technology is available and media outlets such as this newspaper are ready and willing to establish the pathway to that information. It’s time to move forward on this issue not only locally but as a state — a state that is too far behind in too many areas including accessible public records.