The Better Government Association is launching a new initiative that will shine a light on government actions that benefit the public and not the political insiders.

It’s called the BGA’s “Good Government Spotlight” and it will regularly highlight public officials, government agencies and departments, and taxpayer-backed programs or projects that achieve results with “best practices” that encompass the essential BGA values of government fairness, accountability, transparency and efficiency.

GET INVOLVED: Submit the names of government entities, agencies, officials and programs that are making “good government” a reality in Illinois.

The “Good Government Spotlight” will be managed by the BGA’s policy unit, and its findings will be featured here on the policy pages of the watchdog’s web site.

This latest feature is one in a series of new and improved policy initiatives, surveys and studies the BGA, a nonpartisan nonprofit civic watchdog organization, plans to debut this year.

“The BGA is known for exposing government and public officials when they get it wrong, and our investigations will continue to shine a light on waste, fraud, corruption and inefficiency, and to hold public officials accountable,” said Andy Shaw, President and CEO of the BGA.

“But the BGA also has a responsibility to tell people when their government is working and fulfilling its promises—when public officials are getting it right. This new feature will enable us to do that on a regular basis to provide a more complete picture of what’s going on.

“We can highlight a public official, an agency, a city operation, a county program or a statewide effort that fulfills the promise of public service. There’s plenty to consider,” Shaw added.

To determine worthy examples, the BGA’s policy team has compiled a list of “best practices” that will serve as a guide to help decide if government is up to the job.

For months, the BGA’s policy team has been researching best practices nationwide and its focus centers on improving transparency, expanding public access and accountability, eliminating conflicts of interest, boosting disclosure, establishing and following ethics and oversight rules, and protecting taxpayers and the community.

In addition to the “Good Government Spotlight”, the BGA is developing other policy-based tools and instruments, including indexes designed to measure the performance of various units of government on the BGA’s core issues: fairness, accountability, integrity, transparency, honesty and efficiency.

The BGA is also expanding its watchdog activities to Springfield, where the most tax dollars are spent and the biggest decisions are made.

The BGA will continue to monitor, and advocate when appropriate, major good government and public policy issues, including the pension crisis, expansion of gaming, privatization of public services and assets, lobbying abuse, conflicts of interest, judicial integrity, criminal justice, and the excessive number of government units in Illinois.

“The BGA intends to expand its policy presence through the “Good Government Spotlight” and other projects that are underway or on the way,” says Shaw. “Policy, along with our investigations and civic engagement, is essential to the BGA’s core mission of shining a light on government.”

Have you seen any good government LATELY? Tell us about it!