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?
As a co-sponsor of the Open Government Resolution, I’m committed to ensuring that all city departments comply with it. I’ll ask for periodic reports on data provision at the Council’s Emerging Technology & Telecommunications Committee. I’ll also seek input from our Innovation Office and the Austin Community Technology & Telecommunications Commission, as well as Open Austin and other private-sector partners, about what data would be useful and about potential apps that would make the use of the data more convenient to the public.
⇒ 2. How would you evaluate departments' compliance with the Open Government Resolution? Would you support a resolution to create a quarterly report card?
I’d be glad to support a resolution to create quarterly reports on compliance with the Open Government Resolution. The Emerging Technology & Telecommunications Committee would be a good forum for reviewing these.
⇒ 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?
This sounds reasonable to me. I’d be glad to place an item about this on the agenda of the Emerging Technology & Telecommunications Committee, and to carry it to the full Council if the committee recommends it.
⇒ 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?
The Chief Innovation Officer should drive innovation that improves city processes, and should work collaboratively with private-sector partners to develop creative solutions for all kinds of problems. I agree with the recommendations of the Community Technology & Telecommunications Commission: I’d like to see our Innovation Officer develop and execute an implementation plan, and assess performance, for the Open Government Initiative; Institutionalize a city-wide commitment to publishing open data; increase publication of datasets; and align publication activity with public interest and benefit. I’d also like to see the Innovation Officer helping city departments leverage data, technology, and innovation to streamline processes and improve services to the public.
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 would keep ensuring that every page on the City’s website offer a convenient way to provide feedback to appropriate City staff. And I would seek periodic reports about the use of this feedback at the Emerging Technologies Committee.
⇒ 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?
Yes. Website feedback could essentially be treated like a call or email to 311.
⇒ 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?
The City has a responsibility to strive for digital inclusion to ensure that all Austinites have access to the information and services provided online. To fulfill that responsibility, I would focus on the adoption and implementation of the Digital Inclusion Strategic Plan. I would also make sure we periodically update the Austin Digital Assessment; maintain support of the GTOPs program; and work with partners to promote the availability of access at Community Connections sites.
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?
This project was supposed to have been completed by August 2013. I understand staff expect to have a pilot program ready to test next year, and I would ask for periodic reports on that effort. I would also support efforts to get the state to open up its campaign filing software system for use in local races.
⇒ 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’ll be glad to post my campaign receipts and expenditures online. I’ll also be glad to explore posting this information in CSV spreadsheet data format, but I’ll need to get some help with that. I expect we would post it on my campaign website.