|Promoting Open Government in Collier County|
|What is Sunshine Week?|
|Sunshine Week is a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.
Sunshine Week is about the public's right to know what its government is doing, and why.
Sunshine Week seeks to enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger.
|Clerk of Courts celebrates Sunshine Week|
In recognition of Sunshine Week, I join my fellow Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers in support of open government and accountable, transparent processes. As Constitutional Officers and public trustees, we hold our offices to a high standard and know that providing citizens access to public information ensures dependability, clarity, and openness in government.
Our united commitment was recently recognized by Florida’s First Amendment Foundation, which honored Brevard County Clerk of Court Scott Ellis with the 2016 Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Award. This award is presented annually to a Floridian who has made a significant contribution to the cause of furthering open government and recognized Clerk Ellis' commitment to ensuring compliance with Florida's public records law.
Clerks and Comptrollers have long provided access to crucial financial information and official records, and recognize the importance of timely and accurate recordkeeping to facilitate business, real estate, and personal transactions. Clerks also perform audits to ensure that tax dollars are being used correctly to guarantee efficiency, transparency, and oversight of government.
In our role to protect and preserve records, Florida Clerks also play an integral role in public safety through the prompt transmission of critical criminal justice information and court-related mental health records required for background checks and weapon permitting. And as the public’s expectation for accessible, yet secure, records online has increased, Clerks have kept pace by utilizing advanced technology to ensure documents are screened for 22 specific criteria and then properly redacted before their release.
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 citizen’s right to know. For additional information about Sunshine Week and a list of local websites and records provided by Clerks across the state, visit www.flclerks.com
Crystal K. Kinzel
Collier County Clerk of the Circuit Court