It’s called being proactive

[Update 10:52am, 14 June 2010:  NCSML provided their 2008 IRS Form 990 to the BOS and it’s now filed in the public record along with the CAT grant application presentation]

On May 10th, I posted Want public money? Let’s see your 990  To my knowledge, the Board of Supervisors (BOS) has not considered my suggestion.

Yesterday afternoon, I heard Cedar Rapids City Councilor Chuck Wieneke tell the BBRE’s audience on WMT600AM that the only thing he knew about the City of Cedar Rapids’ offer to GoDaddy was what he read in The Gazette.

I’m not saying that anyone is doing anything wrong, i.e., that the BOS is giving tax dollars to anyone who is undeserving or that the City of CR doesn’t have the right to make an offer to GoDaddyWhat is wrong is the perceived lack of openness and transparency associated with these transactions.

Tentatively, the BOS’s June 14th agenda will include this item:  National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) presentation on CAT grant application and Linn County’s participation.  I’m not privy to the details of this item.  I usually learn the details in the same manner as the public, i.e., I have to sit through the BOS meetings to learn the details.

Will the BOS require the NCSML to provide their 2009 IRS Form 990 to the BOS prior participating in the CAT grant application?  I doubt it.  Would they if asked?  Most likely, but no one asks.

Why doesn’t anyone ask?  Maybe it’s because Supervisor Lu Barron is on the board of the NCSML?  Maybe it’s because Supervisor Jim Houser was a former member of the board for six years?  Maybe it’s because one board member is the husband of a CR City Councilor or one board member is the mother of a state representative or one board member works for the Governor (per the 2008 IRS Form 990).  Who knows?

I walk the talk when it comes to openness and transparency.  Don’t believe me?  Look at or follow me on or read this blog.

Let’s assume that I am extreme in my views of openness and transparency in government.  If I am, would it hurt if other electeds and local government bodies met me halfway?  It would go a long way towards destroying the conspiracy theories before they become urban legend.  It would improve our credibility.

It’s called being proactive.  What’s the down side?

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