Common Cause Massachusetts to Present e-Government Award
to 181 Municipalities, Releases Municipal Transparency Report
BOSTON – Common Cause Massachusetts released the findings of its annual survey of municipal websites today and presented its 2010 e-Government Award to 180 cities and towns on Tuesday, March 16th at 11am in hearing room A-1 at the State House. The survey and ceremony coincided with the national initiative known as “Sunshine Week” in which media outlets and others address issues of governmental transparency.
Municipalities who post their governing body’s minutes and an agenda, their budget, their bylaws, and, if applicable, their town meeting warrant and results, and in addition post a year’s archive of minutes and agendas, their calendar, their zoning bylaws, their school committee’s minutes and agenda, and the minutes and agenda for another board or committee will receive the award with distinction. In 2009 Millbury received the e-Government award and in 2010, due to the efforts of Joyce Ostrowski, Administrative Assistant to Town Manager Bob Spain, the town received the Award with Distinction.
“We are pleased to be able to honor over half of Massachusetts cities and towns this year,” said Common Cause Massachusetts’ Executive Director Pam Wilmot. “Many communities rose to the challenge and significantly improved their websites over the past year. By making it easier to obtain important information online, citizens will be empowered to actively participate in their local governments.”
Common Cause Massachusetts launched this project in 2006. At that time, only 24 communities met the campaign’s minimum standards and posted essential governance records. This year, 90 will receive the basic award, and 91 will receive the award with distinction, making 181 communities in total, seven-and-a-half times more than the original 24.
In addition to the awards presented, Common Cause released a full survey of the Internet presence of all 351 cities and towns. 25 communities, many of them small towns, had no website at all. 23 municipalities have websites but none of the documents posted. 20 communities came very close to earning an award and only had one document missing.
On Thursday March 19, 2009 at the State House in Boston, Common Cause Massachusetts presented the 2009 e-Government Awards to 118 cities and towns from across the Commonwealth. Accepting the award for Millbury from Common Cause Executive Director Pam Wilmot was Joyce Ostrowski from the Selectmen/Town Manager Office and Senator Michael Moore.
The event is part of Common Cause’s on-going Massachusetts Campaign for Open Government, launched in 2006, which annually reviews the internet presence of all 351 cities and towns in the state. The minimum standards for posted essential governance records are: the community governing body’s agenda, the governing body’s minutes, current fiscal year budget, the municipalities bylaws, codes or ordinances, and if applicable, town meeting warrant and town meeting results or minutes. The awards ceremony is also part of the group’s efforts to honor “Sunshine Week” where media outlets highlight issues of open government.
Town Manager Bob Spain thanked Joyce at the March 24th Selectmen’s meeting for getting the necessary information together and said “We now have a user-friendly and workable website for our citizens.” Added Board Chairman Bernie Plante, “Joyce has done a great job with the website.”
ABOUT COMMON CAUSE
Common Cause Massachusetts is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, government watchdog, dedicated to citizen participation in an open, honest, and accountable government. An independent, membersupported organization, Common Cause has more than 200,000 members nationwide and 10,000 in Massachusetts.