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Milestone reflects poorly on jobs council
January 24, 2013 - Mike Maneval
January is a month for political milestones, with new members of congress and the Senate being sworn in. This is especially so in inaugural years, as presidents take the oath of office amidst pomp and circumstance. And while this year's inaugural festivities and events saw some milestones, about a week ago, on Jan. 17, the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness reached a one-year milestone of a different kind.
Josh Gerstein of Politico reported the committee had gone without convening a meeting for a year a day later. The White House countered with claims that of the council's 60 recommended, "significant progress" was made on 54. Gerstein also observed a series of conference calls conducted by council members in less-official capacities were blocked from public access. It is not the first time the council has run awry with transparency, with none of the council four official meetings making it into the supposedly required Federal Registrar 15 days in advance.
With the nation's jobless rate at 7.8 percent as 2012 ended in December, compared to 4.4 percent in 2006 and 4.3 percent in 1996, it is clear the Obama administration, after the pomp and circumstance of returning to the White House, can not afford to neglect the need for jobs, and the constituents' right to have the discussion on job creation conducted in the clear light of day. Whether the council needs reformatting to achieve greater levels of activity and public information, voters should be able to expect the council to be more proactive and transparent in the second term.
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