Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

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.

By: Redactor


  1. Orville Seymer says:

    This sounds very good but do they post every check that they write?

  2. Jonathan Rice says:

    It’s all well and good that different counties maintain a web site to keep citizens informed, but honesty of those postings may be in question. To learn about how all governments, federal, state and county keep two sets of books, go here

  3. Lyle R. Rolfe says:

    The Oswego school district in Kendall County, Il., has become quite transparent. All of their bills and other financial transactions are on the website, and all board meeting information is now on the site. Agendas or packets are no longer printed forf the board or news media, but are on the website so board members and media view everything on their laptops and the public view the same things on large screens at the front of the room. And the meetings are digitally recorded and can be listened to on the website. Go to and click on board docs. Then click the meeting you want to view on the left side of the page. Then click on whatever topic or subject you want and when it comes up look for the mp symbol and the recording will come up on your media player.

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