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posted: 2/24/2012 5:00 AM

Support proposal to boost transparency

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In its Feb. 17 editorial, "Nothing funny about corruption," the Daily Herald states two things most people can agree with -- first, that corruption is not funny, and second, that Senate President John Cullerton is correct when he stated that one way to rebuild public trust is "increasing transparency in government."

We do not dispute that the legislature has taken important strides toward ethics reform and transparency in recent years. My office, whose mission is to investigate allegations of fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement, among other things, relating to over 40 agencies under the jurisdiction of the governor and lieutenant governor, 300 boards and commissions, nine public universities and the four regional transit boards a total of about 175,000 appointees and employees, agrees that legislation "just hasn't gone far enough."

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In 2009, the General Assembly took a big step forward in increasing transparency in government when it amended the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act to allow investigative reports of the offices of executive inspectors general to be publicly released. However, these changes were not enough because only investigative reports involving employee terminations or suspensions of three or more days must be publicly released.

On Jan. 24, state Rep. Fred Crespo (44th District) introduced HB 4066, a bill aimed at increasing transparency in government. My office fully supports this bill because it would result in the public release of more investigative reports involving wrongdoing. We believe increasing transparency in government has a deterrent effect and we urge enactment of HB 4066, because ethics reform is no laughing matter.

Ricardo Meza

Illinois executive inspector general

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