Why won’t the City Council majority expand transparency and accountability measures?

costamesaworks_lobbyistWhen government is transparent, it is more accountable.

That’s why CMCEA supports the intent behind the City Counci’s COIN ordinance. And it’s also why we have never understood why last year, when adopting COIN, the Council majority at the same time rejected additional transparency reforms that would protect how taxpayer dollars are spent and shine a light on how lobbyists and campaign contributors leverage influence at City Hall.

So, during bargaining this year, we proposed a measure that’s similar to an initiative Councilwoman Wendy Leece championed in 2012. Simply put, the Transparency, Disclosure and Accountability article would require City Council members to disclose communications and campaign contributions from potential contractors and lobbyists BEFORE they vote to award a contract with those contractors and lobbyists.

That just makes common sense: The public should know what is happening behind the scenes that influences the decisions elected officials make.

Current law does not require the Council to disclose conversations with lobbyists. And even though they do ultimately report campaign contributions, those reports often don’t surface for months after a vote, leaving the public in the dark at the time decisions are actually made.

Transparency can only help build faith in government—something the City Council and City employees both support. And by shining a light on how lobbying works, it will be more difficult for special interests to manipulate politicians to receive contracts that may not be the best deal for taxpayers.

If you would like to read more about the specific provisions of our proposal, click here.