Sunshine Week Silence

Did you know that March 11th – 17th is National Sunshine Week?

This is an opportunity for governmental bodies to highlight the importance of, and their commitment to, open government and the public’s “right to know.”

But not here in Little Falls.

During the Town Council workshop meeting on Monday, March 12th there was no mention of the proclamation that commemorates the annual Sunshine Week event (see sample Proclamation below).

However, it’s worth noting that back on March 14, 2016, then Councilperson James Damiano read a Sunshine Week Open Government Proclamation into the public record during the Council’s workshop meeting. However, now as Mayor he did not take the opportunity to do so this year.

The issuance of a Sunshine Week proclamation would have been a public reaffirmation of the township’s commitment to enhancing the public’s access to government records and information, to increase the information provided electronically and online, and to ensure that all meetings of deliberative bodies under its jurisdiction, and their committees, are fully noticed and open to the public.

During Sunshine Week, and throughout the year, residents can make a difference by identifying local open government shortcomings and then ask our public officials to pledge and initiate specific improvements in local laws, ordinances, policies, procedures and practices.

It is essential for Little Falls residents to encourage our elected officials to do more, seeking not just broad statements of support for greater transparency but specific pledges and plans of action to enhance the public’s right to know and to ensure resident involvement/participation.

In the words of John F. Kennedy “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

Therefore, together we can make a difference for a better Little Falls!

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Sample Sunshine Week Open Government Proclamation

WHEREAS, James Madison, the father of our federal Constitution, wrote that “consent of the governed” requires that the people be able to “arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives,” and

WHEREAS, every citizen in our participatory democracy has an inherent right to access to government meetings and public records; and

WHEREAS, an open and accessible government is vital to establishing and maintaining the people’s trust and confidence in their government and in the government’s ability to effectively serve its citizens; and

WHEREAS, the protection of every person’s right of access to public records and government meetings is a high priority of the township of Little Falls, and

WHEREAS, the township of Little Falls is committed to openness and transparency in all aspects of its operations and seeks to set a standard in this regard; and

NOW, THEREFORE, the township of Little Falls commits during this Sunshine Week, commemorating the anniversary of James Madison’s birth, and throughout the year to work diligently to enhance the public’s access to government records and information, to increase information provided electronically and online, and to ensure that all meetings of deliberative bodies under its jurisdiction, and their committees, are fully noticed and open to the public.

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2 thoughts on “Sunshine Week Silence”

  1. It appears the author only told 1/2 of the total story. This administration takes actual action rather than reading proclamations. This administration added a second public comment which was eliminated by prior administration‘s and responds to all questions as they are asked rather than allowing for just the public to comment. Actions speak louder than words!

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  2. It was also not mentioned that I have letters hand delivered to all residents who may be affected by a proposed ordinance change in their area of town. It seems only portions of stories are being highlighted in these blogs, which the author has every right to do, however, readers be weary and make sure all of the facts are compiled before drawing any conclusions.

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