Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to government transparency, released Wednesday the recipients of the fourth annual Sunny Awards, and among the winners for the second consecutive year was the City of Costa Mesa.
The award, which honors the most transparent government websites in the nation, went to 250 government entities—or to about 3.5% of the 7,000 agencies whose transparency efforts were analyzed.
For the 2013 awards, editors at Sunshine Review graded the websites on a 10-point transparency checklist. They sought information on items such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes. The winners of the Sunny Award all received an “A” grade during the extensive grading process. Costa Mesa was only one of 22 cities nationwide to earn an A+. Huntington Park was the only other California city to score as high as Costa Mesa.
“The Sunny Awards recognize governments that make transparency a priority. The winners of the Sunny Awards are cities, counties and school districts that proactively share the public information that empowers citizens and keeps government accountable to the people,” said Michael Barnhart, president of Sunshine Review. “We would like to congratulate Costa Mesa for being a champion for transparency and serving as a leader to every state and local government around the nation.”
Eight states earned nearly half of the 247 Sunny Awards given. The leading states were Florida (25), Virginia (19), Illinois (19), California (12), Georgia (12), Kansas (11), Oklahoma (10) and Colorado (9). In addition, 35 counties, 22 cities and 42 school districts from all over the country earned the coveted “A+” grade.
The Sunny Awards announcement falls during the annual of “Sunshine Week,” March 10-16, a period nationally recognized by hundreds of media and civic organizations, that celebrates the efforts of activists and the strides taken towards open government.
Sunshine Review is a nonprofit dedicated to state and local government transparency. Sunshine Review collaborates with individuals and organizations throughout America in the cause of an informed citizenry and a transparent government. Since its inception in 2008, Sunshine Review has analyzed the websites of all 50 states and more than 7,000 state and local entities.