Gloucester, Mathews websites ranked among top in the nation

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Mar 16, 2011 - 03:14 PM

Gloucester and Mathews counties have been recognized by the editors of Sunshine Review as having two of the most transparent government websites in the nation.

The two counties once again received the Sunshine Review’s "2011 Sunny Award," given to 112 out of 6,000 government websites nationally, according to a release issued by the Sunshine Review.

Gloucester and Mathews were two of four localities in Virginia to receive an "A+" grade, joining York County and the City of Arlington.

"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. Official accountability is the cornerstone of self government and liberty."

Sunshine Review promotes transparency and affirmative disclosure at the state and local levels, a release noted. A "10 Point Transparency Checklist" is used to analyze state and local government websites. The high ratings the counties received are based on proactive disclosure of information on budgets, meetings, elected and administrative officials, permits and zoning, audits, contracts, lobbying, public records and taxes, as well as the ease of use and availability of information.