Training on government transparency offered by state auditor

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 4.23.38 PMIt is not lost on us as reporters how much work our governments dedicate to fulfilling requests for public records from the likes of us and citizens. We, most of us anyway, try to be reasonable.

We know it also might seem unfair that we can and do attend meetings some government officials would rather we didn’t. I was once asked by a well-intentioned elected official to not attend a meeting. Asked. Then when I attended I was asked what I was doing there. Neither question was legally justifiable, though I trust there wasn’t malice in either of them.

Malice or not, there are rules when it comes to how government officials meet, share emails and what they can and cannot discuss away from us.

Perhaps you know some government folks who you could encourage to partake in some training. Perhaps you are a government official willing to get a refresher course. Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is offering to provide it. From 3-5 p.m. on March 24 he will offer a free Open Government & Transparency training session in the Auditor’s Office building in Tumwater. The office did open-government trainings across the state last year it says were well attended.

For what it’s worth, most government officers I’ve worked with have been entirely cooperative about sharing what was needed. But the law being the law and open government being something we value, this kind of training can save a local government a lot of A. money, B. time, and C. embarrassment when something that should be in the sunshine is hidden, intentionally or not.

The auditor’s invitation follows:

I have decided to follow up on National Sunshine Week by offering local government leaders a free Open Government & Transparency Training Session we are presenting on March 24 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the State Auditor’s Office Sunset Building, 3200 Sunset Way SE, Tumwater, WA 98501.

Sunshine Week – March 16-22 – is an annual initiative to promote open government and spark a nationwide discussion about the critical importance of access to public information.

The training session is designed to help elected and appointed local government leaders excel in records management and compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act and the Public Records Act. The material meets the requirements of The Open Government Trainings Act of 2014. We drew full-house crowds when we conducted a series of these trainings across the state last year.

I know that local government leaders understand the value of transparency of government and accountability to their constituents. These free training sessions offer the knowledge, resources and tools to help them succeed through established best practices, and to fulfill the State Auditor’s Office vision of government that works for citizens.

Seating is limited, so sign up for this transparency training session now at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/transparency-open-government-training-session-tickets-15884683516

Troy Kelley

Washington State Auditor

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