Earlier this year, Governor-elect Mark Gordon and Auditor-elect Kristi Racines organized what they called the Financial Transparency Working Group, the purpose of which would be to identify and develop solutions to improve transparency and accessibility to state financial data.

Gordon and Racines announced their plans for the working group before the November election.

“Ensuring transparency in government is essential. Wyoming citizens must have the tools, context, and resources they need to view and understand how our state budgets our revenues and expends our funds,” Gordon said in an October press release.

Gordon and Racines named Gail Symons from Sheridan, John Masters from Cheyenne, Sen. Cale Case from Lander and Rep. Tom Walters from Casper as the first members of the Financial Transparency Working Group. They also noted at that time that an additional representative, a member of the Wyoming media, would be named to the group after the election.

I am that member of the Wyoming media, and I’m excited to dive into the tasks set before the group. When debating whether or not I should accept the honor of serving with the group, I considered my role as a publisher of a local newspaper. One of the main tenants of newspapers is to act as a government watchdog, which includes being a strong advocate for an open and transparent government. Serving on this working group seems to fit with that mission.

Gordon and Racines organized a meeting of the group via conference call last week. It was an introductory meeting. It largely consisted of everyone sharing their backgrounds and what they would like to see come out of the group’s work. The answer to what the final product will be is fluid, but the group plans to meet in person sometime in January to start pinning down timelines, additional meeting dates and goals.

I cannot think of a single working group that hasn’t faced challenges, but I’m excited to get in the trenches and help make our state’s records more accessible to citizens around the state.

If you have questions, comments or concerns regarding the group or its work, let me know. I’ll do my best to answer what I can and ensure various perspectives are heard.