Letters to the Editor

This Sunshine Week, remember your right to public information

Sunshine Week, celebrated this year on March 11-17, is a national initiative celebrating access to public information and open government. In Florida, we have uniquely strong laws supporting citizens who want to be engaged in their communities, learn more about their local and state political activities and hold leaders accountable.

Transparency in government is a central focus of each of Florida’s 67 Clerks of Court. In addition to providing citizens access to public information, we monitor the spending of tax dollars, conduct audits and perform other important duties as the elected trustee of your community’s funds.

In honor of the 13th annual Sunshine Week, the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers has posted an online directory of each county’s public records request process on www.flclerks.com. The page includes each office’s website, public records contact phone number and a link to their specific policy, process or search page.

As Clerk of Manatee County, I am proud of my responsibility to provide members of the community with access to court records, audits, reports, land records, Board of County Commission meeting minutes and more, and I believe the process should be as efficient as possible. I also take very seriously my duty to protect confidential information with our redaction process.

The Manatee County Clerk’s Office will be wearing yellow this Monday, March 12 to kick off Sunshine Week, and our staff has been undergoing its annual training on Sunshine Law and Public Records.

This week, consider taking a minute to visit the directory and my office’s website and learn more about your right to government transparency. As your elected Clerk of Court, a constitutional officer and public trustee, I am committed to providing you with access to public records.

Angelina “Angel” Colonneso