Two S.C. Web Sites Lauded for Transparency

March 15, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveA pair of South Carolina county Web sites have been recognized as being among the best in the nation in terms of transparency.

Web sites for Anderson County and Aiken County were each awarded a “Sunny Award” from Sunshine Review Thursday.

Anderson County’s site received an A+ while Aiken County’s site earned an A. Of more than 5,000 government Web sites nationwide, only 39 earned an A or A+.

Grades are based on Sunshine Review’s “Transparency Checklist,” which analyzes Web sites for information about budgets, meetings, elected and administrative officials, permits and zoning, audits, contracts, lobbying, public records and taxes.

Anderson County had all 10 areas on its site, while Aiken County had everything but its contracts online.

The “Checklist” measures what content is available on government Web sites against what should be provided.

Sunny Award winners deserve recognition for making information available to citizens and for setting a transparency standard that all governments can, and should, meet,” said Mike Barnhart, president of Sunshine Review.

“Access to information empowers every citizen to hold government officials accountable for the conduct of the publics’ business and the spending of taxpayers’ money,” he added. “Official accountability is the cornerstone of self government and liberty.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Web sites for Allendale, Bamberg, Cherokee, Laurens, McCormick, Saluda, Union and Williamsburg counties all received failing grades. In addition, Calhoun County, Dillon County, Lee County and Marion County don’t have Web sites.

Since its inception in 2008, Sunshine Review has analyzed the Web sites of all 50 states, more than 3,140 counties, 805 cities, and 1,560 school districts.

Reach Dietrich at (803) 779-5022, ext. 110, or at kevin@scpolicycouncil.com.