Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to government transparency, released the winners of the fourth annual Sunny Awards, and Garrett County government is among those winners. The award, which honors the most transparent government web sites in the nation, went to 250 government entities, with Florida receiving the most Sunny Awards.
“The Board of Garrett County Commissioners certainly knows the importance of promoting transparency in everything we do,” said county administrator Monty Pagenhardt. “The board is honored to receive a Sunny Award and will continue to empower citizens by providing the necessary information to keep them informed on the actions their government is taking on their behalf.”
For the 2013 awards, editors at Sunshine Review analyzed more than 1,000 qualifying government web sites and graded each on a 10-point transparency checklist. They looked at content available on government web sites against what should be provided. They also sought information on items such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes. The winners of the Sunny Award all received an “A” grade during the extensive grading process.
“The Sunny Awards recognize governments that make transparency a priority,” said Michael Barnhart, president of Sunshine Review. “The winners of the Sunny Awards are cities, counties and school districts that proactively share the public information that empowers citizens and keeps government accountable to the people. We would like to congratulate Garrett County for being a champion for transparency and serving as a leader to every state and local government around the nation.
The Sunny Awards announcement falls during the annual “Sunshine Week,” March 10–16, a period nationally recognized by hundreds of media and civic organizations that celebrates the efforts of activists and the strides taken toward open government.
Sunshine Review is a nonprofit organization dedicated to state and local government transparency. Its staff collaborates with individuals and organizations throughout America in the cause of an informed citizenry and a transparent government. Since its inception in 2008, Sunshine Review has analyzed the web sites of all 50 states and more than 7,000 state and local entities, according to Barnhart.
Pagenhardt expressed his appreciation to all county employees and specifically recognized the Garrett County Department of Technology and Communications.
“This county office, at the request of the Board of Garrett County Commissioners, took the accessibility of responding through social media and an overall improvement of public awareness as a challenge,” he said. “The county has always made open government a priority and, contrary to some, we are very proficient at this. I am proud of this recognition, and we will all continue this practice.”