Okanogan Watch honored by Washington Coalition for Open Government

OKANOGAN – The Washington Coalition for Open Government presented Okanogan County Watch with a Key Award for advocacy of open government in Okanogan County. The award was presented at Tuesday, April 10 at the county commissioners’ hearing room in Okanogan.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government (WCOG) is an independent non-partisan non-profit organization, with membership open to the public. The Coalition believes transparency and public participation are building blocks of good government. The Key Award is given to individuals or organizations that have done something notable for the cause of open government in Washington State.

Okanogan County Watch (OCW), is a countywide group of volunteers who post notes and occasional videos of County Commissioner meetings on its website, www.countywatch.org. The volunteers also send emails of commissioners’ agendas and meeting summaries to interested parties. These volunteers pay their own expenses, including mileage for countywide trips of up to 50 miles one-way.

“OCW is an inspiring example of citizens doing the hard work of keeping government open and accountable. People have the right to access government information and there is no better defender of that right than the people themselves,” said Mike Fancher, WCOG board member and retired Seattle Times executive editor.

In early 2014, one individual, Isabelle Spohn of Twisp, began emailing notes of the Okanogan County Commissioners’ weekly Planning Updates regarding land use decisions, due to delayed posting of minutes and agendas on the county website. Read more…