The Better Government Association gets a lot of snarky phone calls, letters and emails from people who take exception to our investigations, policy decisions and public comments.

That’s OK—it goes with the territory.

We don’t expect to be loved when we carry out our watchdog mission: Shining a light on government and holding public officials accountable.

It’s enough to be respected, and perhaps appreciated.

Sometimes we are, sometimes we’re not.

The latest “not” comes from the new Rauner administration—-details in a moment, after a little background:

In 2013, House Speaker Michael Madigan, who’s also the Illinois Democratic chairman, sent a letter to party leaders accusing the BGA of supporting his political opponents.

We reminded Madigan the BGA is an apolitical, nonpartisan watchdog that’s been barking at Republicans and Democrats for nearly a century.

That same year, CTA boss Forrest Claypool, who’s now Mayor Emanuel’s chief of staff, sent us a nasty email after a BGA investigation raised questions about his new plan for train station security.

We reminded him it’s our job to encourage a healthy discussion of major policy changes.

And last fall, then-Governor Pat Quinn rejected our participation in a TV debate with challenger Bruce Rauner because Rauner was a BGA donor before becoming a candidate.

That’s ironic, because the latest pushback comes from now-Governor Rauner’s communications deputy, Mike Schrimpf, who answered my email request to interview his boss this way:

“We aren’t going to do this while your organization continues fishing expeditions into individuals who work for the administration. This randomly trying to dig up dirt on people is sickening.”

The “dirt” apparently refers to some of our document requests, and these BGA stories about the new administration’s appointments and associates:

The stories expose potential conflicts the public should know about and the Rauner administration should care about.

That’s not “dirt”—it’s the road to “better government” and the goal of our investigations.

It’s also what motivates our Policy Unit, which advocates for reform around the state.

We’ve been evaluating Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda” and we’re glad it includes one of our top priorities— “smart streamlining“— the elimination of unnecessary units of government.

We’d like to work with the new administration on that and other reforms, like we do with City Hall in Chicago.

Our policy team is collaborating with Emanuel’s aides on a privatization ordinance, even as our investigators expose shortcomings in departments and agencies under his control, including a lack of transparency.

It can be uncomfortable to do both at the same time, but that’s our mission, so we’re still hoping the governor finds time to update us on the progress of his reform agenda.

It’s a natural follow up to a BGA luncheon in Springfield in December, where Rauner talked about the importance of watchdog organizations like ours.

So Mr. Schrimpf: Let’s agree to disagree, without being excessively disagreeable, so we can join forces, when it makes sense, to fight for the good government we all care so much about.

Andy Shaw is President & CEO of the Better Government Association. He can be reached at Find him on Twitter @andyshawbga.