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Transparency Task Force vote on recommendations

BY KRISTEN EAST | JUNE 20, 2013 5:00 AM

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The state Board of Regents’ Transparency Task Force met Wednesday and unanimously voted to forward recommendations to the board for improving public transparency.

The task force was responsible for recommending ways for the regents to employ the best practices in responding to public information requests and providing additional access to public information of interest to Iowans.

These recommendations will be presented to the regents and considered at their next meeting, Aug. 7-8 at Iowa State University.

The task force recommended that a transparency offer be designated at each regent university, and the Regents’ Office should track public-records requests. Those requests would be shared publicly on both the universities’ and Regents’ Office web sites.

In regards to providing more information to Iowans, the task force recommends the regents expand the opportunities in which the public can comment on issues that come before the nine-member governing body. These expanded opportunities could include designated public comment periods lasting a minimum of one hour at each institution and the Regents’ Office before each regent meeting starts. The task force believes this would allow Iowans across the state who may not be able to attend the regular meetings.

Regent Executive Director Bob Donley commended the task force’s recommendations, even going as far as to say it could put Iowa at the forefront of national transparency.

“I believe the recommendations for best practices could well place Iowa at the leading edge in the nation with respect to public openness, transparency, and accountability to the people of the state,” he said in a release. “Iowa has the potential to be a national leader in this area and set the example for other states to follow.”

Regent Nicole Carroll, who heads the task force, commended the other members of the panel.

“I am grateful to the members of the Transparency Task Force for contributing their expertise and expressing the concerns of Iowans in developing the recommendations in a highly responsive and timely manner,” she said in the release.

The panel came to a decision on these recommendations after having held public hearings across the state in 38 communities and through receiving written public comments and suggestions from media representatives.

The nine-member panel comprises representatives from Iowa’s three regent universities, two representatives from the state Legislature, and other officials. The regents approved the creation of the group at their March board meeting, giving the group the responsibility of combating transparency issues that had arisen in the past academic year.


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