After months of wrangling, Belleville officials have new procedures that streamline the way the public can obtain information from the city.
If a resident wants to see records involving city business, now there is a clear, simple path to do so. That's important because the information doesn't belong to the city; it belongs to the public.
With City Clerk Dallas Cook as the designated information officer, we think the program will run just fine. He takes the view that public records should be easily accessible, and that there's no sense to make people wait the five days the law allows if the information can be provided immediately.
Belleville has a spotty track record for releasing information to the public. The Illinois Attorney General's office has had to intervene on more than one occasion to prod the city to release records.
Let's hope that with these new procedures, transparency becomes the city's new watchword.