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Published: Thursday, 1/6/2011

Transparent oath

It's heartening that Gov.-elect John Kasich has decided he won't take office in secret after all. But his earlier resistance to transparency should have surprised no one who followed his campaign and transition. Ohioans can only hope that his administration will display more openness and inclusion than he has shown so far.

Candidate Kasich was routinely evasive, making it clear he'd respond to specific questions about his budget proposals, policies, and programs when he was good and ready. After the election, Mr. Kasich initially refused to provide information about people who had applied for jobs with his administration, complaining about state open-government laws.

When news media and others challenged that decision, the governor-elect relented. He did so again this week, when he and his transition team said they would permit media coverage next Monday of his swearing-in ceremony, which he is moving from his home to the Statehouse.

Mr. Kasich, a former Fox News Channel host, has eased similar restrictions on coverage of other events related to his inauguration. But the controversy has created an unnecessary, tone-deaf distraction at the start of his governorship.

Politicians don't have to like journalists, and some don't bother to hide their disdain for those they consider antagonists.

But personal animus aside, public officials need to understand that news media provide necessary scrutiny of public events, records, and issues, on behalf of citizens who vote politicians into office and pay taxes to support government.

The purpose is to help ensure that government is open, honest, and accountable. So Governor-elect Kasich may as well get used to all the annoying attention, as his predecessors did.

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