County, Canton earn A+ for transparency
by Erin Dentmon
edentmon@cherokeetribune.com
February 01, 2013 12:00 AM | 1678 views | 1 1 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Gene Hobgood talks during a meeting.  Three days after the much-discussed “fire bond” was struck down by Canton voters in a more than 2-to-1 defeat, the debate rages on, with community leaders regrouping to find another way to remedy the city’s need for additional fire stations. <br>Staff/file
Mayor Gene Hobgood talks during a meeting. Three days after the much-discussed “fire bond” was struck down by Canton voters in a more than 2-to-1 defeat, the debate rages on, with community leaders regrouping to find another way to remedy the city’s need for additional fire stations.
Staff/file
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The Cherokee County government has earned an A+ for transparency from Sunshine Review.

The city of Canton also earned an A+ grade. Canton was the only city in Cherokee County evaluated by Sunshine Review.

The grade is based on government websites’ openness in 10 areas: budget, meetings, elected officials, administrative officials, permits and zoning, audits, contracts, lobbying, public records and local taxes.

Cherokee County and Canton both met the group’s standard for transparency for all items on the 10-point checklist.

The state of Georgia’s website has a grade of B; Forsyth County has a B; while Bartow County gets a F from the organization.

Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Buzz Ahrens said he is “delighted” with the county’s grade.

“This is very important and reflects the commitment of the county to provide information that residents want and expect, and in an easily navigated format,” he said.

Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood said he, too, was pleased to have the city recognized.

“It’s been one of my goals here to have a more open and transparent city. That’s what we’ve tried to do with our meetings by giving more notice and having more public input. The website making everything available as much as possible is a great part of that,” he said.

Both entities’ websites have transparency pages providing the information graded by Sunshine Review.

The county’s website was most recently reviewed on Jan. 9. Canton’s was reviewed Jan. 7.

Michael Haines serves as the county’s webmaster; Camille Wehs is Canton’s information technology director.

Sunshine Review is a non-profit organization dedicated to state and local government transparency.

The Sunshine Review collects and shares transparency information to evaluate the content of every state and more than 6,000 local government websites.

Sunshine Review says it collaborates with individuals and organizations throughout America in the cause of an informed citizenry and an accountable government.

The organization is based in Arlington, Va., and was founded in July 2008.

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Bill Bryan
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February 01, 2013
Kudos to Mayor Hobgood and City Manager Wood for their leadership in this area. Good job both of you!
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