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Greater Transparency in Faulkner & Other Arkansas Counties

By Caleb Taylor

ACRE Policy Analysts Joyce Ajayi and Dr. Mavuto Kalulu spoke to the Faulkner County Tea Party on March 5 about their latest research on online transparency in Faulkner County and other county governments in Arkansas.

Faulkner County climbed from the 8th most online-transparent county in 2018 to 6th in 2019. This comes from the second annual Online Transparency Index from the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics, co-authored by Kalulu and Ajayi, released in December.

Ajayi said:

We want to incentivize counties that are doing well to do better. We want to incentivize counties that aren’t doing anything at all to follow best practices from other counties.” 

Overall, Arkansas counties improved their online transparency since the inaugural index was released in 2018. In 2018, four counties published at least 50 percent of the important public information included in our index. In 2019, eight counties do.

Kalulu said:

We’ve noticed some change. It’s not a big change as we might’ve hoped for, but we understand that this is a process that will take time.”

Why are these findings important?

Transparency in government tends to reduce corruption, instills fiscal responsibility and improve the relationship between government and its residents.

Ajayi said:

Transparency is not the end…it’s the means to the end. We want officials to be accountable. We want to improve economic performance. If there’s no transparency, there’s no way to achieve all of this.” 

Interested in how your county’s online transparency ranks compared to the rest of the state? You can find out here

To learn about a recent law that will make county governments in Arkansas more transparent, check out ACRE Policy Analyst Dr. Mavuto Kalulu discussing the benefits of Act 564 in an op-ed “A step at a time,” published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on December 27, 2019.

To find out what one law that went into effect in 2020 will make county governments in Arkansas more transparent check out ACRE Policy Analyst Dr. Mavuto Kalulu discussing the benefits of Act 564 in an op-ed “A step at a time,” published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on December 27, 2019.

For more of our research on transparency, go here.