SALT LAKE CITY — Nov. 11, 2010 — New research from Sutherland Institute’s Center for Limited Government suggests that responsible citizens can find it difficult to obtain accurate information about their local government boards, and that more transparency and accountability are required to prevent an environment that allows board members to seek their own interests rather than the benefit of Utahns as a whole.
Matthew Piccolo, Sutherland policy analyst and author of Utah’s Government Boards: A Case for Transparency and Accountability, notes that Utah’s 1,600 state and local government boards influence the lives of Utahns directly and indirectly, often without those citizens’ knowledge.
Researchers with The Center for Limited Government spent weeks compiling the data presented in the publication. Sutherland Institute today launched a website, www.transparentutah.org, which will give Utahns easy access to information regarding their local boards.
Mr. Piccolo said this work shines a light on Utah’s myriad state and local boards in an effort to promote good governance and preserve liberty.
“At The Center for Limited Government, we think it is worth asking whether some government board activities fall within the proper role of government,” he said. “Citizens also might ask the same question. And they might be curious to know what Utah’s 1,600 state and local boards do that influence their lives directly and indirectly, often without their knowledge.”
In his paper, Mr. Piccolo outlines four recommendations to help increase transparency and accountability within Utah’s government boards: (1) provide more accurate and up-to-date information about boards, (2) consolidate similar boards and eliminate unnecessary boards, (3) enact legislation to address conflicts of interest, and (4) review boards regularly to make them more transparent and more accountable to elected officials and citizens.
Sutherland Institute’s Center for Limited Government urges Utah elected officials to consider the four recommendations and encourages responsible citizens to pay closer attention to the activities and impacts of their local boards.