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The expense records of our U.S. Representatives and Senators are soon going to be online. It should be interesting to see if transparency makes any difference.

I am mindful of the story of the police station that installed TV cameras to "prove" that allegations of routine police brutality were false. It worked until the officers forgot their own cameras were there and started beating up suspects at the booking desk.

Wouldn't it be nice to have federal, state and local government competing with each other to become more transparent? That transparency would transform current processes to empower all of us to more effectively participate in government affairs. I might or might not have questions, concerns or objections depending upon the particulars of some budget or other item.

We could start at the top by having the current budget for Newton County posted to its Web site. It has already been created so how difficult could that be? The Web site needs to be better organized but transparency should not have to wait for that to happen.

Maybe next year all the departments could post their proposed budgets to the county Web site. Along with any supporting documentation they supply to the Board of Commissioners. So the public, err, that would be all of us, could formulate questions to be asked by our commissioners. It's hard to ask intelligent questions during the budgeting process if you don't have the details about what is being proposed.

Beyond budget matters, all requests of the BOC, along with any supporting documentation, resolutions, etc., should appear at least two weeks prior to the BOC meeting where they will be discussed.

Patrick Durusau is a resident of Covington. His columns regularly appear on Fridays.