Arkansas Deputy Chief Information Officer Herschel Cleveland discusses transparency, open data and social media in this interview with StateScoopTV.
Below are edited highlights.
“In Arkansas, I think we have an obligation to our taxpayers to provide all the information that we can on what government does and how we spend our money – who gets the money. We have a transparency act that is fairly new – Act 303 of 2011 –and that’s the transparency act that provides that state government has to on a regular basis set forth the income the state receives, the expenditures the state makes, the salaries of its workers by name and position, and it has to set forth the bonded and indebtedness and the contracts that each agency has and what payments are made to cities and towns. It’s a pretty extensive list of what the state has to do.”
“We have a fairly significant FOIA law, so all of this information has been available if someone submitted a FOIA request. Now that its online, there’s a web site under the DFNA web site, which is the transparency web site, you can go into it and click on any of those categories and drill down and get any information you want. It’s been very helpful. The surprise is that it’s not as used as anticipated. The site went live July 2012 and to this day there’s only been 75,000 hits.”
“I think there’s always a tendency among government agencies to be silos. We were trying to consolidate our agencies into units where we all work together. Social media has been an agency-by-agency decision. What social media do you allow. What social media do you promote. Most agencies use Twitter and we prohibited Facebook for awhile. We created a policy that allows it, but discourage its use during working hours.”