Proclamation by the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners
The Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners will be passing this proclamation next Tuesday, March 15:
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 Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners; and
WHEREAS, the Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners is committed to openness and transparency in all aspects of its operations and seeks to set a standard in this regard; and
WHEREAS, the Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners has periodically enhanced its transparency to the public by posting the draft and final budgets of the Board and of all Constitutional Offices, as well as all meeting agendas, and has implemented processes in May 2010 whereby the public may observe Board meeting via live streaming video on its website (co.okaloosa.fl.us) and all meetings are video recorded for later viewing to enhance openness and transparency; and
WHEREAS, the Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners has implemented policies whereby any interested party may receive meeting agendas via e-mail prior to meetings upon request, and whereby any request for public records are met in a timely manner; and
WHEREAS, all Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners meetings and workshops are publicly notified and open to the public for attendance;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners commits during this Sunshine Week, March 13-19, 2011, commemorating the 261st anniversary of James Madison’s birth, and throughout the year 2011, 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.
DULY PASSED AND ADOPTED this 15th day of March, 2011.