While I appreciate his good intentions, Gerald Mylrole missed the point in a recent Maine Voices column (“Getting rid of the State Planning Office a bad plan for Maine,” Aug. 30). The real reason to preserve the office is to maintain transparency and public accountability in developing the policies that govern all of us.

The office conducts policy research, convenes stakeholder groups and develops solutions for important issues facing Mainers. It does this in an open, transparent way.

It is accessible to the public through the Freedom of Access Act, which makes public documents available to any citizen on request. In recent years, the office brought people together to develop policy on land conservation, land use, school administration, solid waste and recycling, quality of place, beaches and sand dunes, building and energy codes, energy efficiency and alternative energy. While there will never be 100 percent consensus on any issue, the planning office went out of its way to make sure every interested citizen had a chance to engage in and influence the policy debate.

The LePage administration apparently doesn’t support citizen engagement. Its policies are developed by private law firms and think tanks, exempt from public scrutiny. No public opinion is solicited. No public opinion is wanted.

It’s perfectly legal for Le- Page to do business this way. But let’s be clear. His effort to eliminate the State Planning Office is a move to privatize policymaking and open the door to special interests. Eliminating the State Planning Office would do away with engaging the public in developing policies that affect all Mainers.