For Release: Immediate
Contact: Mike Trainor
Chafee Announces New “Open Government” Initiative for Open, Accessible, Accountable State Government
(Warwick, Rhode Island, October 11, 2010) Lincoln Chafee, independent candidate for Governor, today announced that as Governor he will issue an Executive Order on Open Government, through which he will implement a plan to utilize modern information technologies to make government services easier to use, government operations more transparent, and government more efficient overall.
Chafee’s Executive Order will also set standards on the quality and accessibility of government information, ensuring that high-quality information is shared both internally within government, and externally between government and citizens.
“Rhode Island state government must be open, accessible, and accountable to its citizens,” Chafee said. “For too long, cronyism and corruption have run rampant because of a lack of transparency. My administration will be based on honesty, integrity, and accountability. My Open Government initiative will make it much easier for citizens and government employees to access information and services presently residing in obscurity, and to connect with and learn from each other. Further, this initiative will cut costs by opening up the procurement process to generate more competition and increased compatibility with municipal governments.”
Chafee’s plan includes:
1. User-friendliness upgrade of RI.gov: RI.gov, our state government website, may provide valuable resources, but those resources are valueless if citizens cannot understand how to use them. I will upgrade RI.gov to ensure that citizens can take maximum advantage of the public services they pay tax dollars to fund. The upgrade will include putting online government services that currently require a trip to state offices, such as making DMV appointments and renewing drivers’ licenses. This initiative will make online services available for free. The upgrade will also include increasing the usability of the information in the already-existing Information & Data Center (http://www.ri.gov/information), specifically by making it more searchable and track-able. We will also add new content to the site, such as clear information about our state’s tax policy and the performance of government programs.
2. Open Procurement Process: Government procurement has become synonymous with fraud and inefficiency. I will eradicate this longstanding trend by introducing transparency to the procurement process. Like the federal BetterBuy Project, our administration will offer citizens a way to submit, comment on, and vote on ideas for making our state’s procurement process more effective. I will put an end to hurried "end of year" procurements, which have higher costs and inadequate competition, and build a repository to share market research across government, in order to eliminate the existing duplication of the same research efforts. My administration will also update the prices in the state’s Master Pricing List and make it accessible to municipalities. This will create a more open and competitive procurement process, resulting in an economy of scale that will benefit taxpayers at both the municipal and state levels.
3. Accessibility and collaboration with GovLoop: All states in the U.S. face the same major problems as Rhode Island, but our government lacks a mechanism for learning from their solutions. I am dedicated to learning from the economic development and job creation policies of other states, and to helping our state’s government employees better learn from each other. For these reasons, I will join GovLoop, a social network site for government employees that currently connects over 30,000 federal, state and municipal employees, and will encourage all state employees to do the same. Participating in GovLoop will allow Rhode Island to learn from existing solutions and share best practices, both externally and internally.
4. Resolving neighborhood issues with SeeClickFix: Too many resolvable neighborhood issues go unresolved because the appropriate parties are not notified. I want to include Rhode Islanders in the process of stewarding their neighborhoods by encouraging the use of SeeClickFix, a free mobile phone and web application that allows citizens to identify, report, and fix non-emergency issues in their neighborhoods. As part of announcing my Open Government platform, my campaign will organize a SeeClickFix Storm, whereby we ask our supporters to spend a weekend logging local issues on SeeClickFix. Citizens will be helping us help them, and participating in the work of government in a meaningful way.
“My Open Government platform represents a symbolic shift towards freeing ourselves from the old, opaque politics that have crippled our state’s economy. Together, with openness, transparency, and accountability, we can forge a new way forward for Rhode Island,” Chafee concluded.
Lincoln Chafee, former Mayor of Warwick and former US Senator, seeks to become the first independent Governor in Rhode Island history, running on a platform of honesty, proven experience and political independence.
Linc Chafee is a tested leader of unquestioned integrity and a strong independent voice. As Governor, he will work hard to create new jobs, rebuild our economy, solve our chronic budget problems, end corruption, and forge a new way forward for Rhode Island.