Friday, December 9, 2011

Fundamental Fridays - Melissa Thompson

This week's Fundy award for good government goes to Melissa Thompson, Clerk of the City-County Council.  Ms. Thompson's merit for this award is her dedication to producing records when requested by a member of the public.

Some offices in City government, most notably the Mayor's office and the Office of Corporation Counsel, shred the intent of the open records laws daily, only clinging to the minimum legal requirements under state law while deliberately delaying and setting up unspoken requirements for getting documents - like asking twice.   Luckily, not everyone in City Hall handles requests this way.

Even if all City departments and agencies were vigorous in allowing access to public records, Ms. Thompson would stand out.  She fulfills requests quickly; nearly all of mine have been within the day the request was made.  She takes time out to elaborate on how to navigate some otherwise arcane Council jargon.  And she delivers it all in a highly professional manner.

Clerk of the Council is a political appointment, so Ms. Thompson's days on staff are now limited.  Hopefully for the citizens of Indianapolis, her replacement will continue her strong dedication to fulfilling the spirit and letter of the open records laws.  I wish her much success in her new endeavors, and thank her for her valuable stewardship of the Council Office.


Larry Calloway said...

I agree! I was literally shocked at how helpful she was when I was looking for something in the minute books a few months ago. I never asked for her help, but she immediately came out of her office and went out of her way to find exactly what I needed - all I wanted was to get the books and review them myself - but she spoon fed me the information and made copies on the spot. I still felt guilty for taking up her time despite how eager she was to help.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Larry, thanks for adding your experiences with Ms. Thompson. Her dedication to open government is effortless from her perspective, and refreshing / shocking to the rest of us, in comparison to many of her peers.