Governor Cuomo promised to make Albany, including the governor’s office, more transparent and accessible. With the introduction of a new website, publication of his daily schedule and on-line chats, he is fulfilling that promise—although full transparency in Albany remains an elusive but necessary goal.
Mr. Cuomo hosted his first on-line chat on Sept. 24 (with the help of his fast-typing press aide, Josh Vlasto), answering questions from citizens on a range of political and personal topics, from the future of the Indian Point nuclear plant to his affection for the Executive Mansion on Eagle Street. The session may not have produced any startling exchanges, but it did show that Mr. Cuomo is serious about embracing 21st-century technology to keep in touch with his constituents.
The governor also has posted his schedule on the new site, http://governor.ny.gov/citizenconnects/. The posting already has offered an insight into Mr. Cuomo’s governing style, showing, for example, that in early March he hosted a lunch for several Roman Catholic bishops and, the following day, met with supporters of same-sex marriage—an indication of his willingness to reach out to all sides on controversial issues.
Anything that helps to rip apart the veil of secrecy in Albany is good. Mr. Cuomo’s embrace of technology as a tool for greater transparency is a giant leap in the right direction. But full accountability and transparency require more than a website, useful though it is. Transparency requires an end to back-room deals and secretive decision-making at all levels of government.
Bringing about that kind of change will require more than an on-line chat.