In all, we received responses from 18 nonprofit professionals. Their answers are organized into tables and written responses below.
Do you think that open government data is important?
Why or why not?
“It’s the mindset that is important — when governments understand that their data is owned by the public and should be usable by the public to help make decisions. It improves transparency, accountability and understanding between the public and government.”
“Better informed decisions are made with better information. Access to information is important at all levels.”
“If the government represents the people, how could anyone argue that government data should be anything but open?”
“Creates accountability and transparency.”
“Open data can provide an objective measure of how well the city and county governments are serving the population, and can reveal unexpected truths or hidden trends.”
“Open government data allows its citizens to be more informed regarding the specifics of local government, and it causes citizens to be more invested and involved in their city since they actually know what is going on.”
“As citizens, we need to be able to easily access data about our community that is also provided in an easily digestible format.”
“It’s important to keep tabs on government, look for trends, better understand what people are using government for. But ‘open’ — I don’t think all government data should be open because of some kinds of security and privacy things.”
“If the government has the data why wouldn’t they share it?”
“So that the public can be informed on important decision making.”
“Having more data accessible can help nonprofits, businesses, and citizens working on civic projects make more informed decisions based on fact rather than assumption.”
“Accountability — knowing how our tax dollars are being spent.”
“Open government data allows individuals and groups to examine the state of institutions, gauge their effectiveness, and develop new concepts for either improvement or disruption to achieve meaningful improvement to the quality of life in the community.”
On a scale from 1 to 5, how transparent is Hamilton County’s government? (1 is least transparent; 5 is most transparent)
Have you looked for or used data on Hamilton County’s website?
If yes, can you describe your experience looking for and trying to get data from Hamilton County?
“It is not an easy website to navigate.”
“I have tried to find property ownership data, car license tag am data and just general information about who is on various county boards. None of it was easy to find and I never found who sits on county boards.”
“It’s very difficult to find information / statistics / contact information.”
“Difficult, but not necessarily by fault. It is hard to be able to mold and overlap data in a way that is useful when it is coming from different places.”
“I just use it for GIS and property research. It’s actually quite good. The GIS office also makes really good maps and is extremely helpful and talented. An often overlooked asset.”
“For development, the parcel-level GIS data available is helpful, but moving into other tangential areas like health or education there is little detail that is easily accessible.”
Choose three types of government data you believe are the most important to be accessible and open to the public.
|Tax rates and revenues||55.56%||10|
|Restaurant health inspections||33.33%||6|
|Bids and contracts||22.22%||5|
|Licenses (business, marriage, etc.)||5.56%||4|
|Government employee salaries||5.56%||1|
What other specific datasets would you like to see opened to the public?
“All geographic information.”
“School performance, budgets, taxes.”
“Information about student health differences at various public schools.”
“Who sits on county boards, when boards meet, process for getting in front of boards, board votes and decision making.”
“Demographic information in neighborhoods and schools, that go back far enough to show changes over time. Retail growth. Stats on people who leave and return to Chattanooga.”
“I don’t know that it’s a ‘dataset’ per se, but we need significantly more transparency around important meetings — when are they? what happens in them? who was there?”
“Housing values, property values”
“Energy Use Intensity and per acre return on investment for PILOT and other similar valuable incentives provided to private developers”
Would you feel more confident in county leadership if they created an open data policy?
We interviewed 31 people for our open data report. Their names, titles and affiliated organizations are listed in the table below.
|Eric Romero||Interim director of information services||Baton Rouge City-Parish|
|John Snow||Consultant||Baton Rouge City-Parish|
|David Carmody||Deputy chief operating officer||City of Chattanooga|
|Tim Moreland||Director of performance management and open data||City of Chattanooga|
|Melinda Harris||Open data specialist||City of Chattanooga|
|Jeremia Kimelman||Former fellow||Code for America|
|Bill Bennett||Assessor of property||Hamilton County Assessor of Property|
|Teresa Lowe||CAMA system administrator||Hamilton County Assessor of Property|
|Susan Sivley||Assistant to the assessor of property||Hamilton County Assessor of Property|
|Bill Knowles||County clerk||Hamilton County Clerk|
|Debbie Rollins||Chief deputy||Hamilton County Clerk|
|Brooke Weaver||Coordinator of commission records||Hamilton County Clerk|
|Jim Lawrence||Operations manager||Hamilton County Clerk|
|Bill Hullander||County trustee||Hamilton County Trustee|
|Jackie Ware||Senior accountant||Hamilton County Trustee|
|Al Kiser||Finance administrator||Hamilton County Finance Department|
|Lee Brouner||Assistant finance administrator||Hamilton County Finance Department|
|Becky Barnes||Administrator of health services||Hamilton County Health Department|
|Tammy Burke||Director of clinical studies||Hamilton County Health Department|
|Alecia Poe||Administrator of human resources||Hamilton County Human Resources|
|Sandra Ellis||Director of human resources||Hamilton County Human Resources|
|Bart McKinney||Director||Hamilton County Information Technology Services|
|Mike Compton||Chief of staff||Hamilton County Office of the Mayor|
|Todd Leamon||Public works administrator||Hamilton County Public Works|
|Jim Hammond||Sheriff||Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office|
|Matt Lea||Public information officer||Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office|
|Ron Bernard||Information systems manager||Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office|
|Keith Durbin||Director of information technology services||Metro Nashville|
|John Ridener||Open data community liaison||San Mateo County|
|Jeff Yarbro||State senator||State of Tennessee|
|Deborah Fisher||Executive director||Tennessee Coalition for Open Government|