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Commentary

CIO, OMB Begin By Keeping Obama's Promises

Being a veteran of the Fourth Estate, I love words like transparency, accessibility, and accountability.
Being a veteran of the Fourth Estate, I love words like transparency, accessibility, and accountability.When people in charge of government fall short of their own ideals or fail to keep their promises, I believe reporters do a public service by holding politicians' and civil servants' feet to the fire -- regardless of the reporters' political beliefs or the public servants' party affiliations.

On the occasions when I have been critical of the Obama campaign and the new administration, that's why.

Fortunately, there also are times when people deliver on their promises. And that's when fairness dictates that we give people a little credit.

This week, Vivek Kundra and the people at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) deserve some credit for making good on their promises of transparency and accessibility from the very start.

Kundra began his tenure as federal CIO by hosting a news conference that informed and took questions from reporters from the nation's largest and most respected media outlets, online trade magazine writers, and freelancers.

That type of broad outreach isn't particularly common in the highest levels of federal government, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear a citizen journalist on a top-level Washington press call in the near future. I believe that's the way it should be.

The more access the media has, the more information citizens have. The more information citizens have, the better decisions they can make about who they want in office. Ideally, the media helps citizens participate in policy-making decisions that affect us all.

I think it's especially important -- and I hope telling -- that the person charged with increasing citizen participation, as well as government transparency, and accountability through the use of technology, wasted no time in making himself accessible.

So, kudos to Kundra and the staff at OMB.