Open Government Pledge by The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information

The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information created an Open Government Pledge last fall and has been inviting government officials from around the state to sign it. The pledge is designed for individual public officials. By signing the pledge, they publicly commit to open government, to abide by the spirit and the letter of Florida’s Public Records and Open Meetings laws, and to work toward ensuring access and compliance by colleagues and employees. The pledge also includes a promise to limit use of cell phones, smart phones and the social media for public business and only if records of these communications can be captured and maintained as public records.

So far, more than 20 officials have signed the pledge, including U.S. representatives, state representatives, county commissioners, council members and mayors. The list is being compiled and posted on the Brechner Center website.  www.brechner.org

Here’s a copy of the pledge, which is posted on the website:

Brechner Center for Freedom of Information Open Government Pledge

I believe that open and transparent government is essential to our democracy. Florida’s citizens have both constitutional and statutory guarantees of access to government records and meetings, and access to this information is vital for citizens to exercise their political power.

I pledge to abide by the spirit and letter of Florida’s Public Records and Open Meetings Laws. I will also uphold citizens’ constitutional right of access as established by the Florida Constitution. I will make diligent efforts to ensure that my employees and colleagues understand and promote compliance with open government laws.

Further, I agree to use mobile electronic communications or social media for public business only if the proper systems are in place to capture and retain these public records. I will also support efforts to place government information online whenever possible in order to facilitate access for Florida citizens.

Officials who have signed the pledge:

  • Harry Strickland, Mayor, Orange City
  • Jim Waldman, State Representative
  • Anthony Pupello, Council Member, Dist. 4, Orange City
  • Lori Berman, State Representative
  • Evan Jenne, State Representative
  • John Patrick Julien, State Representative
  • Jason Brodeur, State Representative
  • Dwight Bullard, State Representative
  • Debbie Mayfield, State Representative
  • Marti Coley, State Representative
  • Tom Rooney, U.S. Representative
  • Jeff Clemens, State Representative
  • Tom Rooney U.S.Representative
  • Robert F. Apgar, Mayor, City of Deland
  • William L. Weatherford, State Representative
  • Ann Robbins, Vice Mayor, Lake Helen
  • Jeff Triplett, Mayor, Sanford
  • Patty Mahany, Vice Mayor, Sanford
  • Mark McCarty, Commissioner, Sanford
  • Velma Williams, Commissioner, Sanford
  • Randy Jones, Commissioner, Sanford

For questions or additional information, contact:

Sandra F. Chance, Esq.
McClatchy Professor in Freedom of Information
Executive Director, Brechner Center for Freedom of Information
Professor, Journalism Department
College of Journalism and Communications
University of Florida

schance@jou.ufl.edu

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