Sunshine Week: Shining Light Onto Public Governance

In observance, East Haven Patch is providing some information on your rights to observe your government in action and some resources for you to explore open records yourself.

Want to know how much Superintendent of Schools Anthony Serio's is? That's an open record.

Want to watch town officials deliberate and decide what to do about a proposed development? That's an open meeting. 

East Haven Patch is observing Sunshine Week 2012, which runs until Saturday. As part of that observation, we want to share with you some of the open government resources available to anyone.

Open Government

You have the right to see the records the government keeps — from health inspection reports to employee salaries to the entire municipal or school district budget — and to be present at the meetings where governmental business gets done.

The expectation is that government is open — if they want to close the meeting or keep a document confidential, they need to say why. And in most cases, they aren't allowed to ask who you are or why you want to see the record you're requesting.

If you know of an open government issue you'd like East Haven Patch to look into, email East Haven Patch Editor Julie Weisberg at julie.weisberg@patch.com.

See for Yourself

The Internet has made it easier to access a lot of public information. As governments go digital, the amount of information available online has grown. Here are links to some online databases you can search.  

State resources

If you want to dig into the legal aspects of it, here are links to the statutes and guidelines from the state, and a state website with links to public information of all kinds. 

Drea Marino March 15, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Thank you Julie and David for providing this excellent resource to the citizens of East Haven. You have provided an invaluable service and I hope people will take the time to use this as it is the right of the people to know and adds to the checks and balance aspect of our system of government.


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