Citizen Watchdog Training Event in Helena, MT
You’ve heard of egregious examples of waste, fraud, and abuse at all levels of government. But we can no longer afford to sit by and wait for the government or mainstream media to fully inform the public about what’s really going on behind closed doors.
The time has come for citizen watchdogs to stand up and take action.
Please join us on Saturday, July 14, from 8:30am to 4:30pm, at the Red Lion Colonial Hotel to learn how you can get involved and hold our elected officials accountable.
The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity will provide a full day of in-depth training to equip you with the tools and skills to become a more effective activist and citizen watchdog. You will learn how to use investigative reporting skills, how to impact the state and local government budgeting process, and how to advance your message through social media.
8:30-9:00am – Welcome and Introduction To Citizen Watchdog Program
Mary Ellen Beatty, Franklin Center
Phil Drake, Montana Watchdog
9:00-10:15am– Investigative Reporting: Breaking Stories That Force Change
Trent Seibert, Texas Watchdog
10:30-11:15am – Follow The Money Presentation
Ed Bender, FollowTheMoney.org, National Institute on Money and State Politics
11:15-Noon- Open Records Law in Montana
Gregg Smith, Electriccityweblog.com
Noon- 12:15pm- Break
12:15-1:15pm – Lunch and Keynote, Catherine Engelbrecht with True The Vote
Voter Fraud: The Plot to Undermine American Democracy
1:15-1:25pm- About Montana Policy Institute
Carl Graham, Montana Policy Institute
1:45-2:45pm – Social Media 101: Using New Media to Hold Elected Officials Accountable
Tabitha Hale, Franklin Center (Blogger Testimonials or small groups)
- This event was extremely enlightening and I met many resourceful people today that are involved in many key areas here in Montana. I think some links are in order here as some of the information that was shared I do believe Montana citizens would want to know.
Commentary: Montana pension liability is $10.5 billion, not $3.9 billion
By Phil Drake On July 12, 2012
What’s the solution? One effective but painful remedy is to convert defined benefit pensions plans to 401k-style defined contribution.
Obviously the handful of politicians, contributors, “placement agents,” cronies, double dippers, spikers and others skimming fortunes off betrayal of public workers oppose any such solution.
For one thing, when politicians short contributions to defined benefit plans, workers don’t know until it’s too late. If they shorted contributions to defined contribution plans, workers would know immediately.
Those opposed to this solution actually have the chutzpah to cite the unfunded liabilities they created and Government Accounting Standards Board guidelines they manipulated as reasons for not doing it.
However, a recent study by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation proves those objections false.
This is a small excerpt, to read the article:
By PHIL DRAKE | Montana Watchdog
Starting today, salary and benefit information on nearly 15,000 state employees will be available for free to the public via computer as the Montana Policy Institute (MPI) unveils a website that offers that data and more.
The site,www.opengovmt.org is the culmination of what its creator described as a “long legal battle” with the state.
At its launch, the site offers salary and benefit information on 14,789 state employees. And it lists the numbers of unionized state employees by bargaining agent 2009-2011 (e.g. 7,049 in 2011), number of unionized state employees by agency, annual payroll for executive branch employees by county in which they live, employees by agency, average age and average years of services, and information on full-time employees. People can search for information by name, location, department and other criteria.
- Montana friends, we need to speak up. The last blog was written during the event. As data was being brought forth I just could not stop myself from writing.