Maine’s Freedom of Access Law makes it very clear that public meetings and public records should be just that — public. Yet still, Mainers run into problems when they are trying to get the records which the law says they have a right to see.

Faced with an obstacle, there has been little they can do. They can hire a lawyer if they have the money, or call up the Attorney General’s Office and complain. Unfortunately, they would find that it was not really anyone’s job there to do anything about it. That is, until now.

A small detail in the budget that was signed by Gov. LePage was money for the Attorney General’s Office to hire a part-time ombudsman to help Mainers who want access to public records.

The ombudsman will also advise public agencies and officials on right-to-know issues, heading off problems before they occur. For anyone interested in accountable government, this is very good news.