National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Open government and Florida’s Project Sunburst

From Sunlight Foundation:

Two weeks, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott held a press conference, announcing the launch of an ambitious project that will allow online access to much of his email correspondence and that of 11 members of his leadership team.  Project Sunburst.

According to a press release from the Governor’s Press Office, the emails will be available with search capabilities.  Project Sunburst requires that all emails sent or received by the Governor and the designated staffers be posted to the Sunburst website within seven days.  The goal, however, is posting within 24 hours of receipt or transmission, and the Governor has plans to expand the program to include other agencies within the executive branch. The launch of Project Sunburst is one of a number of Governor Scott’s transparency initiatives – a second website, FloridahasARightToKnow  launched last year, provides access to state employee salary information and state pensions of $100,000 per year or more.  The state employee information is extremely useful, providing the name of the employee, the name of the employing agency, and the employee’s annual salary and number of years employed.  The pension information is relatively worthless in comparison – the database lists each state agency and the number of employees with pensions of more than $100,000 but provides little information that would help identify the employee.

Opinion expressed by Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, a member of NFOIC.