Open government

In an action appropriate for Sunshine Week, Gov. Jim Gibbons on Tuesday signed an executive order to give taxpayers Web access to complete state spending records.

The Web site,, should be up and running by Jan. 1, just in time for the public to review the budget Gov. Gibbons will present to the 2009 Legislature. The site, which will cost $78,000 per year to operate, will have information on routine expenditures, contracts and grants.

“My hope is to include the treasurer, controller, Legislative Counsel Bureau, as well as the administrative office of the courts,” Gov. Gibbons said.

Sunshine Week, which ends Saturday, aims to draw attention to the importance of openness in government, and the role public information plays in keeping citizens informed and involved in their democracy. If the public does not have access to the public’s business, government cannot be held accountable to the electorate.

Once this Web site is accessible, every citizen should take time to peruse its content. After all, it’s your money.

Gov. Gibbons said the site will list worker salaries by job classification, but might not include names. That’s a sop to government employees, the highest-paid sector of the state’s work force. They know they’ve got a sweet deal, and that if the public at large ever realizes how much the public sector is paid, in addition to retirement benefits, their ride might come to a screeching halt.

State workers’ names and salaries are public records under Nevada law. If Gov. Gibbons’ Web site is going to live up to its billing, it must bring worker salaries out of the shadows and into the sunshine.

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