In an effort to increase his office’s transparency, Governor Cuomo of New York launched a new transparency website today called CitizenConnects. The website is meant to provide information about the Governor’s activities and will also offer online townhalls and live chats with the Governor. The Governor will be holding weekly live chats through the website taking questions from New York residents.
The information provided on the site is somewhat limited, visitors will primarily only have access to travel schedules of the executive branch, the rest of the content will be user generated or result from the online chats. Visitors can also see posts from the executive branch Twitter feeds and other social media accounts.
The Governor campaigned on promises of increased transparency in Albany but efforts to make good on those promises have been somewhat slow. CitizenConnects is a step in a more transparent direction. The Governor claims that questions posed to state officials through the website’s townhall function will be reviewed and that the website will grow over time. The administration has faced criticism in the past about its lack of transparency and this site makes some efforts to correct that.
The first online chat will be hosted by Governor Cuomo; the second will be hosted by Superintendent Ben Lawsky who will answer questions about storm damage insurance claims and the third will be hosted by Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens who will answer questions about hydrofracking.