Another step into the light

Published 8:26 pm Monday, July 27, 2009

Continuing a trend of providing a variety of ways to access information about the city, Suffolk city officials announced last week that citizens can sign up for an electronic newsletter designed to help inform them about issues and events affecting or taking place in Suffolk.

The e-newsletter is just the latest in a spate of technological answers to public access now available to the city’s residents. Recently, the city began offering live Web streaming of City Council meetings, and it has begun to archive those meetings online in a searchable database that gives those interested the ability to find council discussions of particular topics.

In the era of YouTube and Twitter, the moves represent vital new points of contact between Suffolk’s government agencies and the citizens they serve. The days of posting a notice on the courthouse bulletin board and expecting that it would be widely disseminated are long gone. And Suffolk — where some communities still do not receive cable television — can’t rely on its cable channel for getting out important and timely information.

Email newsletter signup

In a city that isn’t widely known for its government transparency, any move toward a closer connection between government and the governed must be considered a positive step.

Electronic newsletters and streaming Internet video may not allay all of the fears of those who believe that city officials play their cards too close to their chests when it comes to public business, but both new initiatives are commendable insofar as they move that business just a bit further into the sunshine of public scrutiny.