City Website Scores Highest in State for Government Transparency

March 20, 2014  
City launches ww.coj.net/Transparency to make it easier to find public information

Mayor Launches New Transparency Effort to Provide Even More Access for Citizens

Earlier in this Sunshine Week, the First Amendment Foundation rated the City of Jacksonville’s website as the most transparent city website in Florida. Building on that success, Mayor Alvin Brown today announced the launch of a new transparency web page to make it easier for people to connect with their government.

“Open government is good government,” said Mayor Brown. “It’s essential that our city government is transparent and citizens have convenient access to information. We appreciate the positive recognition from the First Amendment Foundation. Our new transparency web page is the next step forward in our continuing efforts at openness and accountability.”

In the First Amendment Foundation’s Scorecard, Jacksonville’s city website had the highest score at 80, leading Miramar at 75, and Pensacola and Deltona at 74. The average score in the survey was 50 out of a total of 100 points. Jacksonville was the only city to have a perfect score in the public records category, rating the availability of electronic public records requests, links to state law, and information on policies and procedures to request public records.
 
To make it easier for residents to get access to important public information, Mayor Brown today announced the launch of a new transparency web page. The new web page provides a central location for information about the city budget, public meetings, the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and city departments. It also provides links to resources from the city’s Procurement Division, Building Inspection Division, the Clerk of Courts, the Property Appraiser and the Duval County Tax Collector. Residents can access the new page at www.coj.net/Transparency.
 
The new transparency website is the latest of Mayor Brown’s open government initiatives. During Sunshine Week in March 2012, Mayor Brown established the Public Accountability Office to better manage public information and build stronger avenues of access for Jacksonville residents. In August 2012, he appointed Alexis Lambert as the new Public Accountability Officer. Lambert previously served as the Florida Attorney General’s Sunshine counsel.   
 
Earlier this month, the mayor announced the launch of JaxScore 1.0, a public-facing dashboard to provide information on the city’s performance and progress toward the administration’s top priorities. In future versions, the city intends to provide more in-depth and interactive access to finances and performance measures that will provide more transparency and accountability into city operations. The city’s website is a collaboration between the Public Affairs Office and the Information Technologies Division.