Sunshine Review is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to state and local government transparency. The Sunshine Review wiki collects and shares transparency information and uses a "10-point Transparency Checklist" to evaluate the content of every state and more than 6,000 local government websites. Sunshine Review collaborates with individuals and organizations throughout America in the cause of an informed citizenry and an accountable government. The organization is based in Arlington, Virginia and was founded in July of 2008.
The checklist for each entity is slightly different, please review them here:
We launched in July of 2008 under the leadership of our president, Michael Barnhart. Sunshine Review's managing editor is Kristin McMurray, working with senior editors Diana Lopez and Shannan Younger. Sunshine Review originated as a project of the Sam Adams Alliance (SAM), but in 2010 separated from SAM and relaunched as its own organization dedicated to educating the public about proactive disclosure and other open government initiatives.
The website addresses several areas of transparency, including state spending, public pensions, public employee salaries, state sunshine laws, and rating local government websites on transparency. Sunshine Review has worked with the National Taxpayers Union in the past to develop information on state spending, and currently works with the Lucy Burns Institute on the WikiFOIA project.
As of March, 2012, Sunshine Review had evaluated over 6,000 government websites, including every county, state, and capital city.
In March of 2010, Sunshine Review launched the Sunny Awards just prior to Sunshine Week to recognize the 39 local government websites that had score an A on their checklist. By the time of the 2011 Sunny Awards, those who qualified had more than doubled, with the organization handing out 112 awards to state and local government websites. In 2012 the number of awards had increased yet again, with the organization handing out 214 awards to state government and other localities.
- See also: FAQ
Upgrading to meet the checklist
St. Charles Parish, Louisiana re-did their website partly "in response to the critique [on Sunshine Review], which examined the sites of every parish in the state, she put the parish's budget online and is preparing to add information about how to obtain public records from the parish." Dupage County, Illinois promised to add county contracts to its website. Champaign County, Illinois was recognized by a local newspaper for its informative website based on Sunshine Review's evaluation of the county's website.
Other local government has also upgraded their websites to receive perfect grades on Sunshine Review's checklist including Tulsa County, Owasso City, Carbondale and Anderson County. Most recently in 2012, Rock Hill, South Carolina updated to meet our checklist.
Anyone can edit Sunshine Review
Sunshine Review is a wiki-format website that anyone can edit by clicking on the "edit" link that appears in the horizontal menu bar across the top of every article. By helping to edit existing articles, add information, and fix mistakes, you can help improve and grow the site.
Where to start: Everything you need to know to get started on Sunshine Review.
Please refer to these pages:
Sunshine Review Community
Once you register on the site, you are considered an editor and a member of the Sunshine Review Community. There are several ways to interact with other editors, and we encourage you to do this. Editors can share tips, plan bigger joint projects, and get to know each other. Some ways to participate in the Sunshine Review community include:
- Sunshine Review:Community Check here for community updates, and to leave notes for other Sunshine Reviewers.
- Sunshine Review Projects Check here for news about collaborative projects on Sunshine Review.
Sunshine Review Staff
- Michael Barnhart - President
- Tony Ciano - Chief Operating Officer
- Kristin McMurray - Managing Editor
- Diana Lopez - Senior Editor
- Shannan Younger - Senior Editor
- Kristen De Peña - Staff Writer & Policy Analyst
- Cory Eucalitto - Staff Writer & Research Analyst
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