Next week is Sunshine Week

“If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.” –Justice Louis Brandeis

March 11-17 is Sunshine Week, “a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.”

The T&G will be running a report on transparency in local government, and a group of residents will be petitioning the City Council to take action in four areas:

9t. Michael Benedetti request the archived city meeting videos be made available in a more easily accessible format that is shareable, downloadable and embeddable to support increased transparency and openness in government.

9u. Joe Scully request the creation of a public records and data retention policy regarding the use of social media technology to support increased transparency and openness in government.

9v. Christopher Robarge of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts request City Council support the passage of state legislation to promote freedom of information, open government, and accessible public records, including measures to minimize the costs of accessing public records and improve the use of information technology to make government information publicly accessible.

9w. Jeremy Shulkin request the establishment of an ombudsman or point person to handle all requests by individuals or media outlets requesting information on any city department and that this employee’s contact information be easily accessible on the city’s website to support increased transparency and openness in government.

One thought on “Next week is Sunshine Week

  1. Massachusetts Whistleblower at Oversight Watch Massachusetts
    Massachusetts: Government/Business/ Labor Oversight This Website is dedicated to all Massachuestts citizens striving for Government, Businesss, and Labor Accountability and Oversight in the continual battle against.waste, fraud, and abuse.http://oversightwatchmassachusetts.blogspot.com

    PRESS RELEASE Contact:
    John Gatti Jr
    March 8, 2012

    MASSACHUSETTS WHISTLEBLOWER CALLS ON THE MEDIA TO ADOPT MODERN CODES OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT DURING NATIONAL SUNSHINE WEEK MARCH 11-17 TO GET STUMBULLED “SHIELD LAW” LEGISLATION AND MORE TRANSPARENCY REFORMS THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE-The MEDIA MUST GIVE CONFIDENCE THESE TOOLS IN THEIR HANDS WILL NOT BE ABUSED

    John Gatti Jr, Architect of, the Massachusetts Public Employee Law Calls stated, “For years Massachusetts Legislation for a Strong Shield Law and enhanced protections to provide proper protections for Reporters and Citizens honestly reporting improprieties has languished. The Media has not done enough to give confidence that these tools in their hands would not be abused. A strong Media Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct is needed to further help passage of this law”.

    March 11-17 National Sunshine Week is the ideal time to move forward for the Media to act. This yearly national initiative includes those from the news media with interested groups and entities along with many other individuals interested in open government operations. The goal of the initiative is to promote discussions and dialogues on Freedom of information by advocating Open and Transparent Government Operations.

    Significant challenges were seen in 2010 to the first amendment and free speech by Massachusetts local governments functioning in their operations. Some Governments adhered to promoting transparency for their citizenry served. Others continued old ways lacking openness. Government entities must sincerely strive to follow the intent and spirit of the new Open Meeting State Law placed in the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. Many local governments are still failing knowingly or unknowingly or using cursory approaches avoiding the intent of the legislative mandate at Transparency and Openness.

    The goals and objectives of National Sunshine Week are most important to Freedom of the Press and transparency for all government and private operations.

    There are challenges Newspapers, Broadcasters, and all in the Media because of the industry downsizing economic turmoil of recent years coupled with new technologies of the Social Media. This makes traditional reporting as we have known especially investigative reporting quite difficult due to severe budgetary and revenue constraints. This has resulted in the downsizing of media and newspaper coverage of government meetings and operations often limiting the Public Right to Know.

    The traditional role of the editorial page has changed. Reporters do not have adequate time to properly research and report the news as formerly existed. This leaves parts of the news or having proper different researched positions or facts by Citizens being left out. This results in government appointed and elected officials having continuous Press Access most times without proper verification obtaining their positions published.

    Newspapers, Broadcast, and Social Media management must consider adopting a stated modern Code of Ethics for their entities. Further, I advocate the same standard for Reporter Associations Current Editors, Reporters, and new hires to pledge to a stated Code of Conduct and accepted Journalism Behavior.

    The traditional place for biased views and columns of various perspectives is still the Editorial Page. Media reporters that compile the news at all levels must be objective, fair, and unbiased and not subjectively discriminate which views to report without proper verification.

    This is an opportunity for all Media by adopting a stated Modern Code of Ethics and Reporters Code of Conduct to be a model for others lacking in the Print, Broadcast, and Social Media during National Sunshine Week as well as well as for the readership and listeners going forward. An Ethics and Conduct Code by all in the Media would stop the continuous attacks by critics and help passage of a much needed “ Massachusetts Shield Law” and other Transparency Reforms.
    -30-

    John Gatti Jr.
    113 Briarwood Avenue
    Southbridge, MA 01550

    Massachusetts Government, Business, Labor: Accountability and Oversight

    Architect of the Massachusetts Public Employee “Whistleblower Law” who writes, reports, and testifies on Government/Business/Labor waste, fraud, and abuse.. Conscientious sincere government employees and managers, legislators, reporters, and the general public that report inappropriate behavior must be shielded and encouraged to come forward.

    Gatti previously spent over a decade as a legislative advocate before the Massachusetts Legislature for the State Employee Organization of Engineers, Scientists, and Technicians. He is recognized for his focus on misuse, inefficiency, and disregard of taxpayer dollars and programs through advocating strong support of public records disclosure and media sunshine laws. Taxpayers and Citizens will only have respect for public employment as an honorable profession when there is full open disclosure at all levels of government activity.

    Gatti is known for being one of the first to publicly question the lack of accountability and oversight on the Central Artery Project, Office of the State Treasurer, Contamination of the Saltonstall Building, investigating HMO prescription drug/ health benefit changes, the contract awards in the state Human Service delivery system, and various government programs. A strong advocate on behalf of consumers and businesses in dealing with the healthcare industry and continuing monitoring of Massachusetts employment laws are among his current research and reporting projects.

    Gatti is a former Massachusetts Director of Industrial Safety responsible for managing, administering and enforcing employment and safety laws affecting Masachusetts working children, men, and women workers, as well as the legitimate businesses and industries who provide their employment. Gatti also served as a field inspector and investigator for the Department of Labor and Industries and Office of Attorney General where he received the Attorney General’s Certificate of Merit.

    Member and Blogger New England News Forum

    Personal Website:
    :http://oversightwatchmassachusetts.blogspot.com/2008/

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