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Editorial: Partial transparency means no transparency for Lombard’s website

Lombard Spectator- Suburban Life News
Posted Oct 11, 2011 @ 12:20 PM

Lombard, IL — Someone at the Lombard Village Hall should look up the word “transparency,” because officials there seem to be unclear on what it means.

Village Board members have been debating how to craft a policy on what information should be posted on the town website regarding how much employees earn. Some trustees would like to see exact salary amounts listed with each employee’s name while others want to withhold names and list job titles only.

Officials have been discussing this issue under the curious title of their “website transparency policy.” What makes this curious is that only one side is advocating transparency while the other side is pushing the idea of concealing the truth.

It’s understandable that many people would not be favorably disposed to having such financial information about them highlighted so publicly. Most Americans regard their salaries as private matters, and municipal employees undoubtedly share these sentiments.

The problem here, however, is that municipal employees work for members of the public, and we are entitled to know exactly how our money is being spent.

There is some personal information about government employees that must remain private, to be sure. But the specific salaries they earn is a matter of public record. For village officials to consider releasing only part of this information is in no way to embrace transparency.

Besides, Adam Andrzejewski of Hinsdale already has provided a way for taxpayers to determine what individual employees in specific governmental bodies are earning. His group For the Good of Illinois recently launched OpenTheBooks.com, a searchable database of financial information.

Members of the Lombard Village Board are scheduled to vote on this issue Oct. 20, and we urge them to choose transparency. We also urge residents to attend this meeting and let officials know that full disclosure is the only vote we’ll accept.

Copyright 2011 Villa Park Argus. Some rights reserved

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