Information Sharing, Transparency, and E-Governance Among County Government Offices in Southeastern Michigan
The Internet has given rise to the availability of information at our fingertips. While the public, particularly consumers, are more commonly described as being the leading users and beneficiaries of electronic information services, businesses and governments are also players in the arena for sharing official information. Information can be easily stored on Internet websites for the public, businesses, and other governmental offices to search and peruse when needed. This study examined the ease of locating county governmental information, such as contact information for public officials and financial reports, and surveyed elected county officials for purposes of identifying how information is shared, what information is shared, and how to better share information transparently. The results of the study are, for the most part, in line with what general expectations might be along with some contradictory caveats regarding shared information that are concerning enough to call for additional follow up investigation, particularly with calendar scheduling, financial reporting, legal cases, and social media availability. Aside from the caveats, overall the results show that the Internet is being adequately utilized for basic information sharing purposes among county governments in Southeastern Michigan. At the same time, however, and given the depth of possibility with modern technology, there is much potential for the expansion of electronic information sharing services, as also noted by the results.