Setting an Open Government Standard?

Local, state, and federal Freedom of Information and Open Meeting laws govern the public’s right to know what’s going on in their government. These statutes don’t often make mainstream media headlines; however, the effects of them are far-reaching. As technology advances, governments need to keep their websites up-to-date with the latest tools for transparency, this helps avoid the risk of being out of compliance and builds trust with constituents.

Although setting a standard for open government is challenging, organizations like the Sunshine Review
are advocating this be done. I wholeheartedly agree with their mission, however, I think emerging technologies should have a place on their 10 point scale for transparency. If using modern technologies were standardized, perhaps it could have helped prevent scandals like what happened in the City of Bell because citizens would have had information at their fingertips to hold their government accountable. This incident showed the nation that government transparency is not just a “feel good” philosophy, it’s a requirement. Tax payer’s money and the well being of communities are at stake. How did this city get away with paying the City Manger $800,000 and how did they get by with holding public meetings only a few minutes long?

Open Meeting Media Portals Recognized for Enforcing a High Open Government Standard
There are many ways government agencies can streamline their
transparency strategies. Many are requiring open meetings and records be stored in a digital meeting portal that gives citizens an easier way to access and interact with government information using audio, video, podcasts, RSS, and search…..Read the full article

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Helen Stewart

Have you read “Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws 2010” latest edition of a classic handbook for Freedom of Information Act litigants. It provides an updated summary of the relevant case law and a discussion of many of the most commonly encountered issues and obstacles a FOIA litigator may face. Edited by Harry A. Hammitt, Ginger McCall, Marc Rotenberg, John A. Verdi, and Mark S. Zaid.

Lauren Alexander

Hi Helen – Thanks so much for sending that book recommendation. I’ll check it out! Have you heard of any good books surrounding local/state open gov case law?