After receiving several emails and one phone call about yesterday’s post on the Kenton County Public Library’s online financial disclosure, I agree that a clarification is in order.
A tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet on the library’s site shows a proposed line-item spending plan. I didn’t mention this in the post, which caused several readers to contact me to inquire about the oversight.
My contention is that a government entity telling us how it intends to spend money is not transparency. It’s nice to have an idea of the library’s spending priorities, but transparency means showing us how the money is actually spent.
I’m glad the Kenton County Public Library made some kind of effort to address the public’s right to know. In doing so, however, they opened themselves up as well to criticism that making the information difficult to find displayed contempt for the spirit of the transparency movement.
By this, I don’t mean that the perfect is the enemy of the good. But half measures just don’t get it done when it comes to showing taxpayers where their money is going.
If government entities want credit for being transparent with their spending, they should make the information easy to find and they should make the information available as the spending occurs.