Congratulations to Champaign County, Illinois, for having the second-best website vis-à-vis being open about government doings. The recognition comes from Sunshine Review, a project of the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance.
But, before we break out the champagne, how come Champaign County is only number two in the rankings? Simple. The number-one site is published by DuPage County, a much larger county with presumably a lot more resources.
Champaign County no longer prints dead-tree copies of its budget. It posts the entire 500-page document online, along with labor contracts, meeting agendas, and even audio recordings of some meetings.
They’re doing a great job. And with 102 counties in the state, they must have had a lot of competition, right? Well . . . not exactly. According to Sunshine Review, 42 Illinois counties don’t even have a website. Of those that do, 27 don’t post meeting schedules or minutes. More than 40 don’t disclose budget and audit info.
Sunshine’s Isabel Santa says there’s “no excuse for a county not to have a website. One of the key things Champaign is doing is providing budgets and audits, and that’s what people want to know, where their tax dollars go.”
Once Sunshine assesses the transparency of Illinois government entities, it plans to tackle the rest of the states. Don’t wait, officials. Get those sites functional right now. Let the people know what you’re up to openly and
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.