Amherst, NY

Legislation (Oct 6, 2014)

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Resolution 2014-1055

Open Government Advisory Board and Plan

WHEREAS, the Town Board (Resolution 2014-229) directed the Government Study Committee to review and recommend to the Town Board an Open Government Plan; and</p>

WHEREAS, the Town of Amherst is committed to creating a high level of openness and transparency in government; and

WHEREAS, the three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration form the cornerstone of an open government; and

WHEREAS, more government information should be published and made available via the Internet which will provide greater public access to information and a mechanism for public feedback and participation; and

WHEREAS, the demands of an across-the-board open government framework require the assistance of an Open Government Advisory Board, to guide these initiatives; and

WHEREAS, goals and timetables should be established for development and implementation of an overall Open Government Plan to enhance and develop transparency, public participation, and collaboration in all town activities;</span>

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Town Board shall appoint an Open Government Advisory Board. The Board shall consist of seven members, including the liaison, and shall be chaired by an individual designated by the Supervisor. The Advisory Board shall meet regularly at such times as the Board decides; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Supervisor shall designate a department head to serve as a liaison to the Open Government Advisory Board. The liaison will lead the Open Government initiatives outlined in this Resolution, including working with town departments and agencies to establish standards for publication of information and the most effective means for making such information available. The liaison will report to the Supervisor regarding Open Government initiatives; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Open Government Advisory Board shall develop and publish an Open Government Plan. The plan will detail, including specific actions, timelines, and steps the Town of Amherst will take to incorporate the principles of open government into its daily activities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Open Government Plan shall be formulated with the input of senior policy, legal, and technology leadership in the Town; open government experts; and the general public; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the components of the Open Government Plan shall include:

(1) Transparency: Steps the Town will take to conduct its work more openly and publish its information online, including ready public access to ordinances and regulations, policies, legislative records, budget information, crime statistics, public health statistics, and other information.

(2) Public Participation: Description of how the Town will enhance and expand opportunities for the public to participate throughout each department’s decision-making process, including instructions for online access to published information and opportunities for comment; methods for identifying stakeholders and other affected parties and encouraging their participation; links to appropriate websites where the public can engage in the Town’s existing participatory processes; and proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies to increase public participation.

(3) Collaboration: Steps the Town will take to enhance and expand cooperation among its departments and agencies, other governmental agencies, private and nonprofit entities, and the public, to fulfill Town goals and obligations; including proposals to use technology platforms and links to appropriate websites to improve, and inform the public about, existing collaboration efforts, and use of innovative methods to obtain ideas from and to increase collaboration with those in the private sector, nonprofit and academic communities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, a portal/place shall be established on the Town’s website that will serve as the source for Town-wide and departmental activities with respect to this open government initiative; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, progress toward meeting the Open Government goals set forth in this Resolution shall be evaluated six months from the adoption date of this Resolution, again one year from the adoption date, and annually thereafter. The evaluations shall be released on the Open Government Portal and shall include criteria to be developed by the Open Government Advisory Board.

10/06/2014



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