Transparency is a word that I remember from a very young age. I had a first grade teacher, who addressed the windows in our 1930s classroom as transparent (clear) and the door glass translucent or cloudy. That stuck with me. The door panes were cloudy and only let a shimmer of light through. Only glimpses of what was there, but never a real picture. However, the windows to the west, which were transparent, would allow for everyone to see things as they were with no clouding or question.
We can compare that with government today. We want to be transparent and allow those around us to see the truth. The real quest in government is to do the will of the people and let them know it without reservation. It is not always an easy thing to do, but it is the right thing to do.
Every day, my office carries out various payments and the other instructions of the Board of Education in the form of public records. The board works through their minutes to provide clarity to the public on their actions. Employees of the school work in tandem as interpreters of their actions. The financial staff is very important in the movement of all these items. We have all worked as the same team for the last 15 years to provide the work product that keeps our district running. From payroll checks to buying buses for the children of our district, we follow bureaucratic red tape and procedure to keep things moving on a day-to-day basis. We generally make the public records and provide them when asked. We have been nine years running with the Auditor of State’s Award with Highest honors. None of this would happen without good people in our district who work daily for the people as a team.
I think transparency in government is the cornerstone of what we do. Without transparency, there can be corruption. It is important for us to remember those words.
We voluntarily signed up to be part of OhioCheckbook.com. We will be providing information to the state for their database. This is just an extension of what we already do. This project will make governments even more transparent for those who participate. The state treasurer is simply creating a uniform access to all those willing to participate to make that “clear window.”
I have two basic philosophies in my work life. The first is that we represent the people of the school district and those children with the best education that can be provided with the most efficient manner of government. The second is that our office works to support the staff of the district who act as the first-line providers to those in the classroom. We need to do what we can to shore up the system to the best advantage of the students. Without them, there would be no need for us. Without transparency, we are not fit to serve.
We want the public to know that we strive to be that Windex keeping the windows clear and clean.