The Case Of The Vanishing HyperlinksPosted: October 4, 2012 Filed under: General Law 2 Comments
For as long as I can remember, the state’s “watchdog” agencies–the Freedom of Information Commission, Ethics Commission and Elections Enforcement Commission–have had their own hyperlinks on the state’s official online directory to state agencies. Last week those hyperlinks disappeared. Look under the letter “F,” where the FOIC used to be, and there is, well, nothing. There are five agencies under the letter “E,” but Ethics and Elections are not among them.
Where did the watchdog hyperlinks go? You could click on a link called “consolidated agencies” at the top of the page. Or if you go to the letter “G” and click on the link for the new Office of Government Accountability, you’ll find them listed under the picture of David Guay, the Executive Administrator of the OGA. Neither of these locations, however, are where most members of the general public would think to look when trying to find a link for the FOIC, Ethics or Elections.
The location of the hyperlinks under the OGA implies that Mr. Guay has some type of substantive authority over the watchdog agencies. He does not. His role as head of the OGA is to coordinate so-called “back office” services, such as information technology, payroll, etc., for a variety of state agencies that were consolidated at the beginning of the Malloy administration. If a member of the public has substantive questions of freedom of information, ethics or elections, Mr. Guay is not the person to call.
Why the longstanding, direct links to the watchdog agencies were removed from the state’s official online directory remains a mystery. Whatever the reason, their removal is a bad idea. The links should be restored so the public can find them quickly and easily.
UPDATE: In response to a few reader comments, allow me to underscore that I do not have any idea who was responsible for the removal of the hyperlinks. I did not mean to suggest that Mr. Guay or OGA was responsible. I simply have no knowledge on that issue. In addition, I should note that the OGA includes a number of other agencies, such as Judicial Selection and Judicial Review, Office of the Child Advocate and Office of the Victim Advocate, Board of Firearms Permit Examiners and others, whose hyperlinks also vanished.
FURTHER UPDATE (Oct. 9, 2012): Great news! The hyperlinks have been restored! I don’t know who was responsible for their restoration, but it was the right thing to do and it happened quickly. Thanks to those responsible for the speedy fix.
Dan, so much of the state’s online presence is set up to prevent the public from finding what they need. Sadly, this isn’t surprising.
The OGA staff is already resolving the matter with BEST in response to a request from the State Elections Commission’s Executive Director. Please know that there are other agencies involved under OGA that also fall under the catagory of “watchdog agencies” that seem to go forgotton. Office of Victim Advocate, Judicial Review, Office of the Child Adovcate, Judicial Selection and the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners are equally important to the citizens of Connecticut. Just because an agency does not employ as many employees as the three mentioned in the blog, doesn’t make their mission any less important.