Sunshine Week is a national initiative designed to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. This includes the public’s right to attend meetings and access documents deemed a “public record;” in North Carolina, this determination is made by the state’s General Assembly.
Sunshine Week 2016 is March 13 - 19.
2. How is the Town of Cary participating in Sunshine Week?
As part of this year’s Sunshine Week efforts, we're providing educational opportunities for our staff and elected and appointed officials to ensure everyone who carries out business on behalf of the Town understands the importance of the “sunshine” laws. We’re also maintaining this Web page, created in 2008, to answer your questions, help make it easier for you to make public records requests and know your rights under the law. It’s part of our ongoing commitment to be open, transparent and accessible.
In fact, our Web site is a prime example of our commitment to Sunshine Week. Since 1997, the Town has been putting Council meeting materials on the Web for everyone – Council members, media and citizens - to access at the same time. It is the primary reason Cary’s Web site was created, and today, it boasts more than 55,000 files of “public records”.
3. How do I access Cary’s public records?
One of the first places you should look for our public records is on our Web site, www.townofcary.org. It’s our encyclopedia – the official online resource that provides Council agendas and minutes, adopted policies and publications, video of Town meetings, interactive maps, detailed project information and more 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Check out our Public Records Web page for more details on this process.
4. Can I also find out about public meetings on the Web?
Yes. The Town Clerk’s Office maintains an online Council meetings calendar.
5. What effort is Cary making to support open government beyond Sunshine Week?
Here in Cary, the sun doesn’t just shine on one week in March; it shines every day as we focus on serving you, our citizens. We do this by supporting both the spirit and the letter of North Carolina's sunshine laws:
- In February 2007, the Town became one of the first local governments in North Carolina to adopt a comprehensive public records policy.
- Throughout the year, Cary maintains its culture of openness and transparency by sharing public records and open meetings information with new employees and citizen advisory board members, and reinforcing Town expectations during media relations training.
In addition, two of the 11 points in our Statement of Values directly address transparency:
- We will be open, ensure access, encourage involvement and be accountable to our citizens.
- We will be honest, ethical and diligent. Our actions will comply with local, state and federal laws.
6. Has the Town received any feedback from the media regarding its Sunshine efforts?
To help assess our actual level of openness, the Town has been asking media to rate us on “accessibility of information” each year since 1999 as part of our comprehensive media relations program. View the results of our media relations survey.
7. How can I let the Town know if I have a complaint or concern regarding public records?
Even though we work hard on accessibility and transparency, it’s important that citizens let us know of any issues since, despite our best efforts, there will surely be opportunities for us to improve. Send questions about public records to Town Clerk Virginia Johnson at (919) 319-4505 or firstname.lastname@example.org or to Public Information Officer Susan Moran at (919) 460-4951 or via email at email@example.com.
North Carolina Open Meetings Law
North Carolina Public Records Law
Cary Public Records Policy
Accessing a Public Record
Opportunities for Citizen Involvement in Cary
Town Clerk's Office
Susan Moran, APR
Public Information Director
Town Manager's Office