Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a new website today that discloses his private schedule since taking office in January and create a town-hall chat for people to discuss policies and issues with his administration.
The website, CitizenConnects, aims to make good on a campaign pledge by the Democratic governor to provide greater transparency in his administration and allow the public to have greater access to his office.
It can be viewed at governor.ny.gov/citizenconnects
Despite his early successes in office and popularity among voters, Cuomo has faced criticism for not running a more open administration, with some good-government advocates knocking him for making major decisions behind closed doors.
But watchdog groups, in a news release put out by Cuomo’s office, hailed the new website, saying it will bolster the public’s right to know what leaders are doing and where they are traveling.
“Democracy works when the voice of the people rings strong and citizens participate in government,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This will be a ‘Town Hall’ in every sense. It will be an open forum for New Yorkers to interact and participate in their government; it will be a place New Yorkers can visit to communicate with their leaders and sign up for community activities; and it will allow New Yorkers to have a direct window into the workings of their government.”
The website include an online town hall where Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy and administration officials will hold weekly online chats with citizens. The first one is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. with Cuomo.
The site included Cuomo’s schedules for every day he’s been in office from January through August. While Cuomo puts out a daily schedule to the press, the information is often limited only to public events.
The schedules released today expand what information had previously been released, including breakfasts and staff meetings he attended and his use of state aircraft.
Good-government leaders said the website is far more expansive than any governor has ever put out.
“By providing information of importance to the public, even before anyone asks for it,the website will give New Yorkers the opportunity to know how their government serves them and offer their points of view,” said Robert Freeman, the executive director of the Committee on Open Government, a state agency. “This is a groundbreaking effort in bringing government closer to the people.”
Here’s his January schedule.