Forecast calls for Sunshine
It is something that we as a populous have a tendency to take for granted.
We never really grasp its concept unless is bears some direct relevance to us.
Even when it is something with direct correlation, we can often overlook the true meaning of what it means to be “open.”
This week is a week that highlights openness and accountability when it comes to the workings of our government.
Sunshine Week is an annual event that is meant to raise the awareness of the importance of open government and freedom of information.
We, as citizens of this nation, state and county have a right to know what our government is doing and how they are doing it.
That is where the importance of open meetings law and freedom of information come into play.
It is a way to identify wasteful spending, abuse of power, hypocrisy, government corruption and cronyism.
It is a way to show that sometimes what government officials preach, they don’t always practice.
There have been pushes in the North Carolina General Assembly to move public notices to a government website rather than those being published in their current form in newspapers of record.
As we have stated before, making that kind of a move has dangerous consequences.
Having that information only accessible on the web prevents those that do not have Internet access from learning what the government is doing. It also creates a convoluted placement of these records, making it difficult for citizens to seek out the information they desire and that they are entitled to.
But, having sunshine in government is not just about exposing the bad side of government. Granted, most sunshine laws have been used to expose the wrongs of governments but it can also be used to see what is being done correctly.
We can take things at face value when it comes to government projects and decisions but, sometimes having a record of those projects and decisions can show that government is doing things correctly.
Regardless, the public has a right to know what its government does and the methods of which it does it. We, the public, have to remain vigilant against efforts to bring government operations out of the oversight of the public it is meant to be accountable to.
Maintaining open records laws and meeting acts is the only way that we, the people, can hope and expect honest government.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.