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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bloomington's next mayor must commit to full transparency

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:00 AM (#)

Note: I sent this press release to the local media last week as part of my campaign for city council.

Whoever wins the November 3 election, it is my sincere hope that Bloomington's next mayor rejects the inappropriate secrecy of the Kruzan administration and is completely open with the public about the city's finances.

The revelation in 2014 that a city employee had allegedly stolen several hundred thousand dollars is troubling and raises concerns about the city's financial processes and why the fraudulent invoices were not caught. What is much more worrisome, however, is the secrecy of the Kruzan administration after the fact. Kruzan was determined to hide the city's financial records from the public, defending the secrecy by claiming public information had suddenly become "investigatory records."

I asked the following questions at the time, and they are worth considering again. What if the Herald-Times or even an enterprising blogger had requested and gotten the records three months before the scandal broke? What if the newspaper (or that blogger) had scanned and saved the documents to PDF and posted them online? Would those records have been seized by law enforcement? Would the Kruzan administration's legal department file a lawsuit force the newspaper or that blogger to take down the records in order to "protect" the investigation?

It is completely absurd that financial records that were open to the public before the scandal broke were suddenly not open to the public afterwards. The nature of financial records did not change just because alleged corruption was found in city government. If anything, the alleged theft should have made the Kruzan administration more open, not less. I call on both John Hamilton and John Turnbull to commit to being completely open about city finances in the final days of this campaign.

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