By Phillip Moyer, Nevada News Bureau: Nevada’s county websites have received a collective grade of “F” from Sunshine Review, a non-profit organization that promotes transparency from both state and local governments.
The grade is part of Sunshine Review’s My Government Website project, which ambitiously aims to evaluate the transparency websites of each city, county, school district and state agency in the nation. The Sunshine Review grades the sites by determining whether each site has adequate information in ten areas: budgets, meetings, elected officials, administrative officials, audits, lobbying, public records, building permits and zoning, public records and taxes.
Each county website is graded individually, with Washoe County’s website earning the highest grade out of Nevada’s 17 counties: a “B-.” Sunshine Review praises the site for its comprehensive information on county budgets, audits, meetings, taxes, elected officials, and administrative officials, though it notes that the site lacks information on contracts, lobbying and public records. The website for Clark County, the state’s most populous county, received an “F”. Although the site has information in every area except for lobbying and taxes, all of this information is labeled “incomplete,” except for that of elected officials and administrative officials. Sunshine Review makes specific note of a clause in Clark County’s contract with the firefighter’s union that states, “At no time shall the County place the collective bargaining agreement, in whole or part on any website.” However, the Las Vegas Review Journal has posted the contract on their website in response to this clause.
The majority of county websites received low grades. All eight Nevada counties with populations less than 10,000 residents received an “F.” Every other county received a “D-,” save for Nye County, which received a “C-.” Mineral County is noted as the only county in Nevada to not have a website at all.
Out of all the information areas, Nevada’s sites most frequently neglect to include information on contracts, open records laws and lobbyists. Only Clark County has any information on contracts, and only Clark,Douglas, Humboldt, and Lyon County contain information on Nevada’s open records laws. No sites contain complete information on any of those three areas, and no Nevada County site contains any information on lobbyists.