Sunlight Weekly Roundup: New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo launches new website to increase transparency and emphasize citizen engagement

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has made good on his campaign promise to increase his own transparency by launching a new website called CitizenConnect. This website provide citizens with details about his schedule and allows them to conduct online town halls with him. Jimmy Veilkind has been critical of Cuomo’s transparency record in the past and sees this as a step in the right direction. Cuomo hopes the site will provide “an open forum for New Yorkers to interact and participate in their government.” Find out more on Veilkind’s take on the new website at Capitol Confidential.


  • According to a study done by The Sunshine Review, a nonprofit that uses a transparency checklist to evaluate state and local government websites, the state of Florida has a B grade for online transparency. Despite several Florida county websites receiving A+ grades for online transparency, the overall grade average was weighed down by the low marks given to the state website The site earned a B due to its tough-to-navigate search function, not providing information on state-paid lobbying and agency lobbying contracts, and not providing “comprehensive information” for making public records requests. Find out more about Katie Sanders’ take on Florida’s ranking at the Miami Herald Naked Politics Blog.


  • Cook County, Illinois just launched an online open county data catalog. For its template, Cook County used the Model Local Open Government Directive, which was designed to fill a need for open government policies  expressed at CityCamp Colorado. Bryan Gryth, Vice-President and Director of Colorado Smart Communities maintains, “Today is a good day for open government and the citizens of Cook County because they have a more transparent county government and that transparency will hopefully lead to a more informed citizenry that can hold their government accountable.” Check out Sebsatian James’ take on the  campaign on the Cook County Blog.
  • San Francisco’s oldest municipal Sunshine Ordinance was established and extended thanks to the San Francisco Bay Guardian.  They are now reporting that enforcement of this ordinance was left to an ethics commission that simply would not discipline recalcitrant officials, thus leaving the task force powerless to give citizens the openness they have a right to. She maintains that this oversight allows government departments to lie about embarrassing public records with little impunity. See why Terry Francke describes the Sunshine Ordinance as a “cloud of inaction” at CalAware Today.