“Open Government Is Good Government”
March 15-21 marks the 10th anniversary of Sunshine Week — a nationwide celebration of open access to public information. We at ArchiveSocial believe that government performs at its best when it is open and accessible to the citizens it serves. While the movement was started and is largely driven by press associations, several governments are stepping up to take part. We want to take a moment to highlight a few of the governments and agencies that are participating in Sunshine Week in a meaningful way.
Town of Cary renews their commitment
Let’s start local with the Town of Cary, NC, just down the road from ArchiveSocial’s Durham headquarters. Cary exemplifies the spirit of Sunshine Week with their commitment to openness. They have been posting council meeting materials to their website since 1997, and in 2007 became one of the first local government in North Carolina to adopt a comprehensive public records policy. They make locating and requesting records easy with their dedicated public records website and have demonstrated their leadership by archiving their social media with ArchiveSocial since 2013. Way to go Cary!
Department of Justice celebrates FOIA professionals
The US DoJ celebrating Sunshine Week by acknowledging the men and women who are responsible for actually retrieving and producing records requested under the Freedom of Information Act. The department will be issuing awards to FOI professionals in a number of categories including Exceptional Service, Excellence in Management, and Outstanding Customer Service. The ceremony will be held on March 16 from 10-noon and is open to the public.
Sometimes the first step in making government more open is as simple of declaring it so. This year a legislative bill introduced in California, a proclamation issued by the Governor of Iowa, and a House Resolution adopted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly all do just that. While these measures are largely symbolic, they do indicate a willingness on the part of elected officials to make open government the norm.
Sunshine Week in the Sunshine State
Sunshine Week has its roots in Florida, where the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors (FSNE) first launched Sunshine Sunday back in 2002 to draw attention to legislative efforts to undercut public records laws. The tradition continues on Monday when the FSNE launches its annual packet of stories related to open government and continues on Wednesday when the First Amendment Foundation hosts its annual Sunshine Luncheon to honor individuals who make outstanding contributions to open government in Florida. Information about the luncheon can be found here.
Stay tuned for our own Sunshine Week announcement!
ArchiveSocial will be celebrating Sunshine Week with a very special announcement next week, so stay tuned! Here’s a hint as to what it will be: it involves the words “open”, “government”, and “archives”. Any guesses?