Campaign Finance Data Challenge: accepted
Many of these issues, such as the Open Data Portal and Open Government Resolution, are discussed in our Open Government Briefing Guide.
⇒ 1. How will you encourage City departments to comply with the Open Government Resolution and place useful data on the open data portal on a timely basis?
I have always been an advocate for transparency and oversight of government. I believe that citizens absolutely have a right to know, in a timely manner, actions taken on their behalf by the governmental entities representing them. In the 2011 resolution there isn’t an enforcement mechanism to direct the City Manager to have city departments comply with regularly updating the open data portal. I would advocate that the Technology and Telecommunications Committee release an annual report and assign ratings to city departments based on their compliance with updating the data portal.
⇒ 2. How would you evaluate departments' compliance with the Open Government Resolution? Would you support a resolution to create a quarterly report card?
I would support a resolution to create a quarterly report card. When the Council passes resolutions to make our government more open and transparent it is important that the city employees adhere to those standards.
⇒ 3. Would you support a resolution to require that any software or software services purchased by the City must be accompanied by an open data plan that indicates how public data managed by that system will be made available to the public?
Yes, I would support making sure software vendors have plans in place to ensure a pathway to transparency for the data they are responsible for.
⇒ 4. This past March, the City hired its first Chief Innovation Officer. What are the specific functions and initiatives you would like to see out of this office to advance the City's open government and open data efforts?
I look forward to working with Kerry O’Connor to ensure all city online portals are open, easy to navigate and accessible to all members of the public, including the disabled. I also support tagging and coding of photos, audio files and multimedia files to ensure disabled members of our community can interact with our city website to receive city services. I believe Kerry will have achieved success when departments are regularly updating information for citizens to interact with and the general public can easily find what it is they are looking for. I would also support the creation of a city services app for smart devices for folks to report issues, look up bills and request services from the city.
Website and Online Services
⇒ 5. What steps would you take to help ensure the City of Austin website provides the tools and information that citizens and community groups want?
I am a big advocate for a complete redesign of the city’s website with more functionality on the back end so that when a citizen is searching for their neighborhood association they can see all the options and places where their association is listed. There also needs to be a streamlining and reorganization of the data made available. I believe we should work with city staff in each of the departments to get their input on how to best redesign their information and internal website pages. We can make our website much more accessible and we should.
⇒ 6. Would you support action to create an online issue feedback/reporting system, where a citizen could report an issue with the City's website and other online properties, and track city response to that issue?
That is a terrific idea; yes, I would support that.
⇒ 7. There are strong benefits to providing city information and services online. Many residents, however, experience barriers to access. (See discussion of "Digital Inclusion" in our Open Government Briefing Guide.) What do you see as the City's responsibility regarding digital inclusion, and what steps would you take to address these concerns?
I would like to work with Open Austin to find opportunities to make sure all Austinites are able to access their city’s website. I understand that there are technological enhancements that can make the city’s website more ADA compliant and fully support those measures. I also believe that whomever redesigns the city’s website should be highly focused on user interface and we should hold focus groups or digital interviews with people across the community with various levels of digital literacy. As for socioeconomic barriers, I would like to see more computers available at city facilities, community centers and libraries.
Open Data Exercise: Campaign Finance Filings
The City of Austin currently posts candidate and office holder financial statements as scanned facsimiles (PDF format) of the filed, attested documents. In 2012, the City Council approved a resolution to post these filings in a searchable, digital form.
⇒ 8. What would you do to ensure this project is completed before the next municipal election?
I would work with the technology office at the city to understand the barriers to making the financial statements searchable and proactively work with city staff, the Technology and Telecommunications Commission to put together a timeline and game plan to meet this goal. I would also encourage my colleagues on the city council to make transparency a priority across the board at City Hall.
⇒ 9. Will you publicly post your campaign receipts and expenditures (as reported to the City on form C/OH) online, in CSV spreadsheet data format, within 30 days of filing a report with the Austin City Clerk? Where will you post it?
I will post it within 30 days of filing the report with the Austin City Clerk on my website.