American City & County: New Bell, Calif., website emphasizes transparency
By Larry Conley | American City and County
As six former city officials accused of corruption begin trial, Bell, Calif., launched a new website which current officials say signals a new commitment to transparency and redress of the past. The six former city council members began trial Jan. 24 on allegations they looted public funds from the Los Angeles suburb, in part by hiding huge salaries from the public.
Current Bell officials say the new website reflects their efforts to repair the city's reputation and restore faith in local government. The website makes city legislative activity and financial data easy to find and accessible to all citizens.
The website includes a Transparency tab on the main navigation bar. Residents can click on the tab to get information about finances and taxes, zoning, city council policies and an employee code of ethics.
The website's design was facilitated by Vision Internet and guided by a 10-point Transparency Checklist. The checklist was created by the Sunshine Review, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about proactive disclosure; Institute For Local Government guidelines; and California state transparency laws.