Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Greensboro N.C. Gets a C- from Sunshine Review

HAT TIP : Greensboro Councilwomen Nancy Vaughan Facebook Account

HAT TIP : Sunshine Review , bringing state and local government to light

Here is a definition of what Sunshine review is about


Sunshine Review is about state and local government transparency, engaged citizens, and holding government officials accountable. The Sunshine Review wiki collects and shares information about state and local transparency using a 10-point Transparency Checklist to evaluate 6,000 state and local government websites. Sunshine Review is a non-profit that collaborates with individuals and organizations across America to promote state and local transparency

The Sunshine Review has some analysis on cities all over the country and has given the City of Greensboro a C- with 3 other cities getting rated as well in Charlotte getting a B, Raleigh A-, DurhamB- and Winston Salem getting a C. To see the comparison of cities CLICKHERE

The good on Greensboro from Sunshine Review

  • The current budget is published and previous budgets are available for the last three years
  • The calendar of meetings, meeting agendas, and minutes, are available and archived at least three years
  • Names of elected officials, email addresses, individual phone numbers, and a physical address is available
  • Names of administrative officials and individual phone numbers are available
  • Permit applications are available for download
  • The current audit is published and previous audits are available for the last three years
  • Bids are posted
  • Public records are available, including forms and contact information
  • Tax revenues are available and tax rates are published
  • The “I Want to…” feature is an excellent resources available on the website.

  • The bad on Greensboro from Sunshine Review

  • Administrative officials have only email contact forms, as opposed to individual email addresses, and physical addresses are unavailable.
  • Links to zoning information are available, but the links do not work.
  • Awarded contract information is unavailable, and a search does not generate relevant results.
  • Lobbyists, memberships to lobbying organizations and associated fees are unavailable.
  • Archived budgets are unavailable.

  • Looks like with a C- rating there is room for improvement and one aspect that needs improvement is to be able to search for minutes from past Greensboro City Council meeting while putting in searchable words like for example "conflicts of interest and Robbie Perkins" this should let us search for any past meeting and see the minutes from this meeting. Right now you have to try to remember which council meeting it was in then search each date then scroll through all the minutes that were taken to see if you have the right saying. It takes a very long time to do this but seeing that Greensboro televises it's meetings is a huge plus to even go back to past meetings and watch the video even to see Greensboro Councilmen Zack Matheny tell someone to sit down.

    If the sunshine review needs help with the wasted money for the City of Greensboro on hiring a Lobbyist here is a link to my post on this issue which the city gets a missing label for this area of their review. here is the post on that titled "City of Greensboro Set to Waste Taxpayers Money Going After Taxpayers Money to Hire Federal Lobbyist" then we find out later that the mayor has been friends with the Sapersteins since the lobbyist was a kid, nice cronyism on this issue. Hopefully we will see the reversal of this federal lobbyist in the future and the City of Greensboro can say they spend no taxpayer money going after taxpayer money.

    here is the video from that vote and the mayor talking about the new federal lobbyist

    Nice to see this from the sunshine review and hopefully they will succeed in this endeavor and we can shine a light on all cities , counties and state government all over this country.

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