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Voters want insights county is offering

| May 14, 2021 1:00 AM

Call it a potential triumph for transparency.

Kootenai County commissioners have extended a valuable public service to leaders of both the county Republican and Democratic central committees.

Since 2018, Commission Chairman Chris Fillios wrote in May 3 letters to Brent Regan (R) and Evan Koch (D) and their committee members, the county has been recording and posting most of its public meetings on YouTube.

"We made that change in the interest of promoting transparency and accountability in local government," Fillios wrote.

Residents have strongly approved, Fillios noted, which got the commissioners thinking about expanding the service further.

Their offer: At no cost to the political parties, the county is willing to record and live-stream any of the parties' meetings held in the County Administrative Building.

"The important work you do in helping encourage residents to run for office and supporting them in their campaigns, as well as your other political efforts, has a direct and influential impact in the outcome of local and state-level elections in Kootenai County," Fillios wrote. "If the County can support you in promoting transparency in government, educating our residents, and encouraging participation in elections by offering to record your meetings, we would like to do so."

The chairman's office hadn't received a response from either Regan or Koch as of the writing of this editorial. Hence a word of encouragement.

The public would, we believe, be very interested in the discussions that take place in formal meetings of local party leaders. Keep in mind that the offer extends only to the meetings held in the county's main building, so other events or discussions could remain behind closed doors.

Insights into the political process down to party roots would give voters valuable information. Those insights might remove some stigmas — or add them — depending upon the content of meetings that now are witnessed by few people.

The Press encourages a green light from local Republican and Democratic leadership to share their activities through the county's generous offer of transparency. An informed electorate is the best kind.