When Americans don't think their city, county, state or nation is operating as well as it should, they can run for public office and try to do better.
Once elected to boards or commissions or councils, though, people have to learn about how to operate properly - in a way that's transparent to the public they serve.
It is not as easy as it looks.
The state Ethics Commission has unanimously endorsed a proposal to overhaul the state's Open Governmental Meetings Act. That law details how public agencies must provide notice of and conduct open meetings.
Changes have been discussed for a year.
The commission favors, among other things, a measure to make state and local governing bodies adhere to a tighter definition of what constitutes an "emergency." And current law says public officials must file advance notice of the meeting "at any time prior to the meeting."
Those are holes big enough to allow sloppiness or outright mischief.
The Ethics Commission would narrow the definition of "emergency" to unexpected events that pose a threat to public health or safety, damage to public or personal property, or substantial financial loss or harm to an agency.
Were the proposal to become law, public officials also would be required to announce an emergency meeting "as soon as practicable."
These are higher standards, and that's the way it should be. Public officials are expected to conduct the public's business in a way citizens can follow.