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Garrett County Government Wins National Transparency Award

Last Updated on Mar 15, 2013 at 9:38am | Board of Commissioners

Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to government transparency, released the winners of the fourth annual Sunny Awards and among the winners was Garrett County Government. The award, which honors the most transparent government websites in the nation, went to 250 government entities with Florida receiving the most Sunny Awards.

“The Board of County Commissioners certainly knows the importance of promoting transparency in everything we do.  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,” said County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt

For the 2013 awards, Editors at Sunshine Review analyzed more than 1,000 qualifying government websites and graded each on a 10-point transparency checklist. Editors looked at content available on government websites against what should be provided. They 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. 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,” said Michael Barnhart, President of Sunshine Review. “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 of “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 towards open government.

Sunshine Review is a nonprofit organization dedicated to state and local government transparency.   Sunshine Review 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 websites of all 50 states and more than 7,000 state and local entities.

Mr. Pagenhardt expressed his appreciation to all County employees and specifically recognized the Garrett County Department of Technology and Communications (DotCom).  “This County office, at the request of the Board of County Commissioners, took the accessibility of responding through social media and an overall improvement of public awareness as a challenge.   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”.