Florida’s Sunshine Laws are among the strongest in the nation, giving every person access to the information necessary for participating in the democratic process. These laws protect the right to know how government operates, making information such as public events, government meeting minutes, and court proceedings available to all.
In recognition of Sunshine Week (March 12-18), I join my fellow Florida court clerks and comptrollers in support of open government with accountable and transparent processes. As constitutional officers and public trustees, we hold our offices to a high standard in providing access to public information.
Clerks and comptrollers provide access to crucial financial information and official records, while recognizing the importance of timely and accurate record-keeping. Clerks also perform audits to ensure that tax dollars are being used correctly to guarantee efficiency, transparency and oversight of government.
The Manatee County Clerk’s Office is committed to responding to public records requests in an efficient and timely manner. Our office has launched an annual training program for staff in order to stay current on the law and emphasize the importance of access to public records. This training will coincide annually with Sunshine Week. Our staff will be kicking off Sunshine week this year by wearing yellow to show our support for open government and access to records. Additionally, our office will have informative brochures on access to public records available within the office.
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As constitutional officers and public trustees, clerks recognition of Sunshine Week should serve to reaffirm the commitment we have to uphold open government in all of Florida’s 67 counties and defend each person’s right to know.
Angelina “Angel” Colonneso, Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court