in Houston, Texas
Harris County, Houston ISD, 19 other Texas government entities win “A” grades for transparent websites
Thursday, Mar 08, 2012, 09:31AM CST
By Trent Seibert
A

Harris County, the Houston Independent School District and 19 other local government entities in Texas were awarded top grades today for disclosing information to taxpayers on their websites.

The grades come from the Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit organization promoting government transparency.

Each year the Sunshine Review analyzes thousands of government websites across the United States and grades each on a 10-point transparency checklist.

Review editors looked at content available on government websites against what should be provided. They sought information on items such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes.

Those who received an “A” grade earn a Sunny Award from the organization.

“The Sunny Awards recognizes governments that are doing an exemplary job at proactively disclosing information to taxpayers,” said Michael Barnhart, president of Sunshine Review. “There are so many organizations and associations that highlight what is wrong with government. We at Sunshine Review are proud to acknowledge those who are doing it right and setting a transparency standard that all governments can, and should, meet.”

Other winners include Fort Worth, Fort Bend ISD, Huntsville and Laredo.

See all the winners from Texas and across the country by clicking here.

Websites that provide important information to taxpayers are only one aspect of ethics, though, as Texas Watchdog readers know all too well.

Some of the governments who received “A” grades from Sunshine Review have been the subject of ethics problems.

Officials in Harris County, for example, have been slow to investigate problems in the county’s constable offices. And HISD has been plagued with cronyism and allegations of contract steering.

Editor’s Note: Texas Watchdog editor Trent Seibert sits on the board of directors of Sunshine Review.

***
Contact Trent Seibert at trent@texaswatchdog.org or 832-316-4994 or on Twitter at @trentseibert or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo of A grade from Abilene Christian University.

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