Photo by Code for America fellow Alex Pandel.
Open data is only one part of the open government puzzle.
Critics say that while the Nutter administration is touting its open data successes, it’s also denying routine records requests and making it near impossible to obtain records that it doesn’t want public, according to a Philadelphia Daily News article.
Interviews with dozens of journalists, public-records experts and elected officials reveal that, when it comes to fielding requests for government records, the “new way” of governing that Nutter once pledged is looking a lot like the old one in Philadelphia. In some respects, it might be worse.
“If the city of Philadelphia would say that it’s open and transparent,” [executive director of the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records Terry] Mutchler said, “I would have to disagree with that.”
In the story, WHYY reporter Holly Otterbein points out: “The city must also be transparent even when it is inconvenient or politically damaging.”
It’s worth noting that Chief Data Officer Mark Headd has expressed the same sentiment, writing that the city must release transparency-focused data as well as data sets on library hours or recreation center locations. Headd has made it a goal to release more controversial data, like city employee salaries and other city contract expenditures.
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