Bruce Harreld

University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld addresses the Regents tuition task force on the university's five-year tuition plan last month.

JIM SLOSIAREK, THE GAZETTE

Thumbs up to former Rock Island County Administrator Dave Ross, who wrapped up his two-year tenure this week.

In his brief stint, Ross labored to restore financial sanity in the county. It was a massive step toward winning back the trust of taxpayers, too.

After Ross' departure, county board Chairman Ken Maranda pledged to begin a nationwide search for another budget hawk. It would be the right move. We urge to Maranda to stick with it. 

Thumbs down to total disrespect for transparency among Iowa Regents.

Under oath, a majority of Iowa's collegiate governing body detailed illegal secret meetings leading up to the hiring of University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld in 2015.

Members flouted basic tenets of citizens' right to know during secret meetings, set up through private email, that persuaded Harreld to seek the post. The public can thank a lawsuit for, finally, confirming what many have long believed was a back-door effort to recruit Harreld outside of proper channels.

Basic transparency is under assault throughout the country. White House staff are using personal email accounts to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests. In Muscatine, city officials have blown through piles of cash in a failed attempt to suppress records of public meetings.

Transparency, the backbone of representative government worthy of trust, is falling out of vogue at all levels. Iowa lawmakers should respond by bolstering substantially the penalties for transparency violations. 

Thumbs up to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who this week stuck by his pledge to support women's rights and signed HB40.

Rauner came under substantial pressure to veto the bill, which guarantee poor women have access to abortions. It was unclear how he would fall until Thursday when he announced his intention to sign it into law.

Abortion access is a constitutional right, Rauner noted. That right shouldn't depend on a woman's financial standing, he argued.

He's correct on both counts. 

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