The week of March 16 - 22 is Sunshine Week, and that's a good time for local officials to make a special focus on openness and transparency in government.
Too often, we see only the violations of the Freedom of Information Act reported in the news when it's far more frequent that officials in our cities and towns are doing the right thing for the right reason to keep their residents informed about what's going on with their government. Read this month's Columbia Business Monthly to find out about some transparency best practices Cayce, Camden, Ridgeway and Columbia put in place.
The SC Press Association's guide to FOIA is probably the best resource around to help local officials stay within the law. It's got great examples and easy-to-understand interpretations of each section of the law. The Municipal Association also has a comprehensive compilation of resources about FOIA and open government on its website.
Local officials can learn more about FOIA at the next session of the Municipal Elected Officials Institute coming up on May 15 at the ten regional councils of governments. Learn more and register here.
Also, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom offers space on his website for cities and towns to post their online financial information.