Mike Assad gets it.

Thomas Grites and Michelle Cappelluti may not.

Assad - who, it might be relevant to point out, is 22 - is a member of the Absecon Board of Education. He wants the district to post on its Web site every financial and administrative document approved by the board. Everything, including all salaries.

This information is already public information - but you have to file an Open Public Records Act request to get it. Assad's proposal would eliminate the need for that. Whatever you want to know about the Absecon schools would be right there, at the click of button.

There is simply no reason not to do this - at any level of government.

But Grites, the vice president of the Absecon board, worries that if you don't have to file an OPRA request to get the information, the district won't know who wants the information or why. OPRA requests require a name, address and contact information.

It doesn't matter, however, who wants the information or why they want it. It's all public record anyway.

Yes, we know that filing OPRA requests has become a standard campaign tactic to ferret out presumed "dirt" about an opponent. Too bad. Public information is public information, no matter who wants it or why they want it.

Besides, OPRA requests can cause problems for school districts and government agencies. Someone has to retrieve the information and copy it to comply with the request. Which brings us to Cappelluti, the Hamilton Township superintendent. She worries that if her district were to do what Assad wants to do in Absecon, "it would take hours of manpower" to put the information online.

Not true. As Assad points out, you are not creating new documents. You are simply taking documents you already have - and already print out and send to board members each month - and putting them "on Web sites we already have, on computers we already use." "If anything, it's simpler," he noted.

Assad's proposal comes at a time when, as a recent Press story showed, at least 10 municipalities in the news organization's coverage area still don't even have basic Web sites.

Some towns get it. Some towns don't. But there is no longer any excuse for government not to join the 21st century - and put all of the people's business online.

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