Pinal County Earns State’s Only A+ for Transparency in Government - The Explorer: News

Pinal County Earns State’s Only A+ for Transparency in Government

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Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 8:14 am

 Pinal County is the first and only Arizona county to earn an A+ for transparency in government. Sunshine Review is a non-profit organization formed to push for transparency in government and recognize the most transparent government websites in America. This is the fifth year that Pinal County has received a Sunny Award and the first year it earned an A+.

Sunshine Review rates more than 7,000 city, county and school district websites in all 50 states, giving each a grade for transparency.

The push for greater transparency in government is evident by an increase in sites earning an A grade. Nationwide there were only 35 counties to earn the coveted A+ grade.

“Successfully passing the Sunshine Review’s rigorous 10-point checklist would not be possible without a supportive Board of Supervisors and a management structure that favors transparency,” Pinal County Communications Director Heather Murphy said. “The Board has been clear about making the website a hub for free public access to information. They continue to challenge us to create more ways to do county business through the website.”

“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 congratulate Pinal County for being a champion for transparency and serving as a leader to every state and local government around the nation.”

“County bids, proposals and RFQs are listed on the website, as well as a searchable database of contracts the county has with its vendors. The county’s site also hosts comprehensive financial reports, including detailed monthly expenditure reports, campaign finance reports, searchable tax information and much more,” Murphy said. “In fact, members of the public can pull up all the same back up information for agenda items that the Board members see before they vote.”

No California, Utah or Nevada counties earned an A+ but Santa Fe County, New Mexico earned top marks, on par with Pinal County.

Sunshine Review evaluates state and local website transparency using a 10-point checklist. Since its inception, the non-profit organization has evaluated 7,000 state and local websites in all 50 states, awarding an ‘A’ grade to slightly only 247 sites nationwide. For more information about the rankings or to see how other places compare, go to www.sunshinereview.org.

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