Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What "Open Government" Doesn't Cover--Subordinate Offices

Here, via OMBwatch, is the text of the Obama's administration instructions to agencies on opening government. I like it, but I think there's a major problem: it treats each agency as an entity, not as a set of interrelated offices.  For example, an agency like FSA has over 2,000 county offices, state offices, offices in Kansas City and Salt Lake City.  NRCS and RD have similar structures.

So the issue, which I've hashed with at least one county executive director, is whether you have a centralized unitary open government structure or a more decentralized one. Complying with Orszag's instructions implies a centralized structure, which in a way is contrary to the open government philosophy. I'll be trying to track how NRCS and FSA implement this directive.

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