The state Supreme Court voting this week, to end the 12-year practice of discussing court administrative matters in the public eye, is “disappointing” says an open government advocate.
Christa Westerberg, vice president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, says transparency “promotes public confidence in governmental institutions and helps the public know what its government is doing.”
She says there have been a lot of instances of closed government in the past year. WISFOIC has been critical of the process of redistricting and the legislature hastily calling a meeting to pass the collective bargaining bill. Although these actions were conducted by Republicans, Westerberg emphasizes open government is not a “partisan or ideological” issue.
“Conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats, everyone benefits from openness and has a stake in openness,” she says.
Justices voted 4-3, Monday, to end the practice of discussing court administrative matters in open conference. The new rule was authored by Justice Pat Roggensack who said: “To sit out here and philosophize about various issues is really not the best use of our time.”
The Supreme Court’s change requires all administrative matters to be discussed behind closed doors, unless a majority of justices gives prior approval for an open conference.
AUDIO: Brian Moon reports (:58)