OMAK There is clearly a need for government employees and elected officials to be trained on state open meetings and records laws.
State Auditor Troy Kelley has just the answer, and it comes as the nation celebrates Sunshine Week. The March 16-22 week is dedicated to keeping government open and transparent to the public.
In his effort to reduce the potentially expensive battles over public access to records and meetings, Kelley will be offering training sessions this year in Longview, Wenatchee, Spokane, Everett, Tacoma, Yakima and the Tri-Cities.
In Wenatchee and Everett, he is also offering Transparency Town Halls for residents, likely in response to public records and open meetings battles that have been waged both in North-Central Washington and Snohomish County in recent months.
Lucky for us, the cost to send record keepers, administrators and elected officials to Wenatchee for training probably will cost taxpayers less than protracted battles over obtaining records that should be readily available.
The Wenatchee training session is scheduled for June 16. Kelley has already opened registration at his trainings and Transparency Town Halls.
We hope public agencies from North-Central Washington — including schools, hospitals, fire districts, municipalities and law enforcement agencies — will all send at least one person to a training session.
“Local government leaders understand the value of transparency of government and accountability to their constituents,” Kelley said. “These free training sessions offer the knowledge, resources and tools to help them succeed through established best practices, and to fulfill our vision of government that works for citizens.”
We hope he’s right.
The sessions are an important step in maintaining the transparency residents of the state are to be guaranteed.
The Transparency Town Halls will help residents learn about accessing public documents, proper meeting procedures and what to do when a public agency has potentially broken a records or meeting law.
That’s knowledge everybody needs to maintain a free and open democratic society.
We encourage everyone to contact the Office of the State Auditor and register for a session.