Greater Columbia Business Monthly March 2014 : Page 8

QUARTERLY UPDATE BY REBA HULL CAMPBELL PHOTOGRAPH BY KIMBERLY CAMPBELL Sunshine Week Spotlights Transparency Success Stories “The Internet really makes it easy for any city to post documents for public use that formerly needed to accessed in by person or requested by mail,” says Bill Rogers, executive director of the SC Press Association. “That cuts down on many of the requests that reporters used to have to submit using FOIA.” Thanks to the ease of posting information on city websites, most cities can now make available their monthly check registers, annual audits required by state law, and their CAFR or Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports. Even the smallest towns can use the Internet to do this with today’s technology. “Ridgeway’s town newsletter, strategic plan, and meeting dates are posted on the town’s website which keeps our community in the know,” says Mayor Charlene Herring. “We also mail our town newsletter with the water bill each month so all citizens are informed. Also it keeps our government work open and transparent to the community.” Herring also holds monthly meetings with the merchants regarding MARCH 2014 very March, the newspaper industry recognizes Sunshine Week as a way to bring awareness to the importance of transparency in government operations. This is also a good time for elected officials in our cities and towns to celebrate government openness and to make sure citizens are aware of the diversity of information available about their city’s operations. At first glance, transparency may appear to mean just following the state’s Freedom of Information Act or posting a city budget online. In reality, a truly transparent government can do many things to make its decisions and actions more accessible. 8 | COLUMBIABUSINESSMONTHLY.COM E

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