Governor Charlie Crist and Secretary of State Kurt Browning today announced training related to public records management will now be available online. During Sunshine Week, observed March 16-22, 2008, the Florida Department of State, State Library and Archives of Florida, will begin facilitating eight online training sessions for records management liaison officers and other individuals whose duties include records management in public agencies. The training sessions will provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about Florida's Sunshine Laws.
“The very foundation of our democracy relies on our people having access to the information they need to hold government accountable,” Governor Crist said. “Florida’s open government laws ensure this access, and it is important for all of those working in government to clearly understand their responsibilities.”
The initial announcement of the online training sessions resulted in an overwhelming response from state agencies, filling the first four sessions to capacity. As a result, the Department of State added four additional meetings in order to accommodate more participants. By the end of March, 80 individuals will have been trained during the eight online sessions.
“The Internet offers the people of Florida a valuable tool and resource for learning more about the workings of all levels of government,” said Secretary Browning. “Now, we will harness that same tool to help ensure that state government fulfills its duty to be open and transparent to the people we serve each day.”
There is no cost to the agencies to participate in the training. Topics of discussion could include, but are not limited to:
In 2002, the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors launched Sunshine Sunday to increase public and legislative awareness of Florida’s strong public record and open meeting laws. After Florida’s trailblazing actions to establish these laws, many other states adopted Sunshine Sunday, which resulted in the American Society of Newspaper Editors designating a Sunshine Week in March 2005 and each year thereafter.
On March 14, 2008, Governor Charlie Crist issued “A Week of Sunshine” Proclamation recognizing March 16-22, 2008, as Sunshine Week for the citizens of the State of Florida. The proclamation urges citizens to celebrate the State of Florida’s dedication to making state and local government more accessible to the public.
Governor Crist made his dedication to Florida’s Sunshine Laws evident in his inaugural address. As Florida’s 44th Governor, he made open government a top priority. He quoted President Abraham Lincoln, pledging that Florida government would be “of the people, by the people and for the people.” The next day, in his first Executive Order, Governor Crist established the Office of Open Government and charged it with providing the Governor’s Office and all state agencies the tools necessary to serve the people of Florida in a professional and efficient manner. On June 19, 2007, the Governor appointed the nine-member Commission on Open Government Reform to review and evaluate the public’s right of access to government meetings and records. The Commission will submit their findings and recommendations to the Governor, the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 31, 2008.
This article originally published on March 17, 2008.