Editorial: SW Colorado governments show improved attention to transparency

From The Durango Herald:  In observance of Sunshine Week, The Durango Herald and the Cortez Journal tested local government agencies’ understanding of and commitment to their legal responsibility under the Colorado Open Records Act. Local residents should be pleased there were few problems and a generally improved climate of transparency.

Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote open government and freedom of information. As part of its annual observation, March 16-22 this year, reporters were sent to government offices they do not typically cover and instructed to ask for a copy of the employment contracts of certain agency heads. Included were fire chiefs, school superintendents, sheriffs and town managers. As part of the assignment, the reporters did not identify themselves.

The idea was to gauge as closely as possible what members of the public might experience in seeking information about their government. Under Colorado law, all of the requested documents are open records and are legally available to members of the public. Those asking for such records are not required to give their names or to explain why they want the records.

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