Transparent government locked down

Councillor Josh Matlow’s most recent weekly column for the Toronto Star looks at the issue of access and security at City Hall. Apparently some councillors have access cards that allow them to freely enter the mayor’s office while others, like Matlow, do not:

However, when I recently tried to enter the mayor’s office, my pass didn’t work. I might as well have been holding a Diners’ Club card.

In contrast, the mayor’s staff walks undeterred through every corridor of city hall and often makes unscheduled visits to councillors’ offices. At first, I didn’t think twice about Mr. Ford’s locked door, as I know he has a lot of requests for his time. And it’s his office, after all.

But then last week, I witnessed another councillor, who sits on the executive committee, receive a green light when he waved his pass. I began to wonder why Ford Nation granted visas to some councillors and not to others.

via City Hall Diary: A visit to the inner sanctum –

Via Twitter, City Hall Watcher and Day-of-Reckoner Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler notes that David Miller’s office was never locked during business hours.

Zealously controlling access to your office — and having staff that immediately get suspicious when visitors start taking photos — indicates a kind of paranoia that seems to undermine Ford’s goal to increase transparency and accountability at City Hall.

You can’t only be transparent and accountable to people who like you.

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