On Thursday, March 19th at 1:00pm in the Nurses’ Hall at the State House, Common Cause honored the Town of Sutton for posting at least six important local governance documents on our website. The Town of Sutton, represented by Selectmen Mike Chizy, James Smith, Pam Nichols and State Representative Jennifer Callahan, was presented with the 2009 e-Government Award with distinction. The event occured during Sunshine Week, a national initiative created by the American Society of Newspaper Editors intended to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. "The Town of Sutton is proud to be a recipient of the open government award,"said Mike Chizy, Chairman of the Sutton Board of Selectmen, "Creating a first rate website that brings Town government to the people has been a priority of the Board of Selectmen and we thank all the Town employees that helped make this happen."
The event is part of Common Cause’s on-going Massachusetts Campaign for Open Government, which periodically reviews the Internet presence of all 351 cities and towns in the state. The current audit of all municipal websites in the Commonwealth was released at the event. The first assessment in September 2006 found that only 24 municipalities – or about 7 percent – have all six key records posted online. The
six documents included in the review are the municipality's governing body’s agenda, the governing body’s minutes, budget information, the municipality’s bylaws, code or ordinances, and if applicable, the town meeting warrant and results.
“It’s time to bring local government into the 21st century,” said Common Cause Massachusetts’ Executive Director Pam Wilmot. “The Internet makes it easy and cost effective to facilitate public access and citizen engagement by, at a minimum, posting these six key records. More and more people rely on the Internet for critical
information each day. Communities that provide this information are providing an important service to their citizens."