CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
Alexandria, Virginia – – Today, Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to government transparency, released the winners of the third annual Sunny Awards.
Among the winners were four cities and one county in Oklahoma. The award, which honors the most transparent government websites in the nation, went to 214 government entities with Florida receiving the most Sunny Awards.
“The Sunny Awards recognizes governments that are doing an exemplary job at proactively disclosing information to taxpayers,” said Michael Barnhart, President of Sunshine Review. “We at Sunshine Review are proud to acknowledge those who are doing it right and setting a transparency standard that all governments can, and should, meet.”
The winners in Oklahoma were:
Broken Arrow, A+
Oklahoma City, A-
Tulsa County, A+
For the 2012 awards, Editors at Sunshine Review analyzed more than 6,000 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.
Six states earned nearly half of the 214 Sunny Awards given. The leading states were Florida (28), Texas (21), Illinois (19), Virginia (14), Ohio (10) and Pennsylvania (10). In addition, ten states earned an “A” grade for their state government website including, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, New York, California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington and West Virginia. The winners also included school districts and city and county governments.
Since beginning the Sunny Awards in 2010, Sunshine Review has given 365 Sunny Awards to local and state governments. In 2011, Florida once again took home the most awards with other leading states including Texas (12), Utah (10), Illinois (7), Virginia (6) and California (5).
“The winners of the Sunny Award know that information empowers every citizen to hold government officials accountable. Sunshine Review applauds the winners of the Sunny Award and encourages every government to allocate the resources to improving their website transparency,” said Barnhart.
The Sunny Awards announcement preludes the launch of “Sunshine Week,” March 11-17, 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 6,000 state and local entities.