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We can’t believe we are saying it in two editorials, two weeks in a row.
We’re handing out a “job well done” to a local agency for working to be more open and accessible to the public.
Last week we saluted state Rep. Frank Iler for earning a Sunshine award for doing a great job with his campaign finance reports.
This week, we say “way to go” to the Brunswick County school system for taking steps to make its board of education meetings more accessible to the public.
At the board’s last meeting, the system underwent a trial run where it tested filming the board meeting. The goal is to make school board meetings accessible to the public on the Internet. Administrators hope by doing so, more parents will become involved in their children’s education and will learn more about the processes and procedures that take place that shape policies for Brunswick County Schools.
School officials say attendance at meetings is at a historic low. That doesn’t surprise us, although we do find it disappointing.
Across Brunswick County, most government meetings—from the county level all the way down to individual towns—are generally poorly attended. While some more active communities, such as Calabash, Sunset Beach and Carolina Shores, have better attendance than towns such as Shallotte, we are seeing it’s often the same group of people who go to meetings to find out what’s going on.
As watchdogs for this community and proponents of open and transparent government, we do our best to bring the community some of the most important things going on in community meetings.
But the reality is Brunswick is a large county, and the amount of government meetings is too great for us to cover all of them. And even when we do, we can’t always report on every decision being made.
That’s why it’s important for community members to play active roles in their government.
If you don’t know when government officials get together to discuss the very things that have a direct impact on you and your neighbors, now is the time to find out. You can go online to most government agency websites and find out dates, times and locations for meetings. If you don’t have access, call your local town hall, the board of education or the county government complex.
It’s important to be an active participant in the decision-making process for the things that directly affect you. Don’t be caught off guard and learn about these things after the fact.
That being said, we understand the size of Brunswick County and people’s busy schedules make it difficult to come to some meetings. That’s why things such as the school district’s decision to air meetings online are good ones.
And, what’s even better, school officials report they’ve been able to do this, without creating new expenses for a cash-strapped district.
We’re glad to hear it.
Do your part now. Come to meetings when you can; and when you can’t use other resources.
Wow, the sun really is shining on government lately. Maybe that’s why it’s been so hot outside.