Pillars of any government of, by and for the people must be transparency, openness and community engagement — from public information, to policy-making, legislation, the budget process, programs and services.
A new advisory committee will focus on providing greater access to County documents, assessing policies and tools needed to make records more readily available, prioritizing public input to help as part of the process.
For public records act requests, the County will look into a clearinghouse for submittals and a user-friendly web portal with past information requests. Besides increasing transparency, the move could add efficiency by avoiding repeat requests from different entities for the same information.
The committee will also explore ways to get more public input in the County’s budget process and Board of Supervisors meetings. The County has added evening budget hearings in recent years, and the committee will look into ways the public can be more engaged. Budget information is already updated regularly in an online budget portal, which forms part of a larger San Diego County Data Portal that makes a wealth of facts and figures accessible.
The public will also be able to better access information about actions taken by the Board of Supervisors. The Clerk of the Board plans to update its search capability so users can easily find records on official Board actions dating back to 1877.
The advisory committee plans to review the County’s email retention policy and make recommendations on whether changes are in order.
Next year, the budget will add resources to support the work of the new committee.
For more clarity on the effectiveness of County operations, a new Office of Evaluation, Performance and Analytics is taking shape. The mission of this office will include expanding the way the County uses data in guiding priorities and future spending.