Take some time next week to allow the sun to shine in

Burke Wasson

Burke Wasson


It’s been said that a good government is a transparent government. And nothing ensures that more than Missouri’s Open Meetings and Open Records Law, more commonly known as the Sunshine Law.

With that protector of open government in mind, and being that this is Sunshine Week, Call Newspapers and the Mehlville School District are co-sponsoring a Sunshine Law seminar on Wednesday, March 21. Those interested are invited to attend the two-hour free seminar beginning at 7 p.m. at the Lindbergh High School Auditorium.

The seminar was one of the conditions of a settlement agreement we reached last year with the Mehlville School District. While our relationship with the district has blossomed into a give and take that is more creative than critical, we encourage all current and aspiring Board of Education members to attend. A little more knowledge might prevent another misgiving, and eligible board members can even earn two state Certified Board Member Credits in the advanced or masters program for merely showing up.

We invite not only all school-district officials in the area, but also figures from far-reaching entities like the County Council and Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District as well as officials from numerous fire districts, state organizations and cities.

As we’ve previously reported, we recall a handful of times within the past year when government entities did not fulfill the Sunshine Law.

Fortunately, the only example we’ve faced this year — in the city of Crestwood — was swiftly and politely corrected. While we thank Crestwood officials for their due diligence, we also cordially invite them in the spirit of cooperation to discuss the tenets of open government with fellow governments.

Along with our featured speakers — Missouri Assistant Attorney General James Klahr and attorney Jean Maneke — we also will open the floor to the audience in a question-and-answer session.

To get the most educational benefit possible, we invite not only the aforementioned officials to participate, but also those whom the Sunshine Law serves — the public. Even if you lack the time or patience to attend meetings of any government that affects you, the Sunshine Law protects you nonetheless.

Without it, there would be no way of knowing how your tax dollars are spent.

And if you’re spending money toward governmental uses of which you may not be aware, you might also want to spend some time next week at this seminar to see how you can be better informed.

While we’re confident that each government we cover respects the Sunshine Law, we’re also sure that all can do better.

That said, if they truly value public transparency, we expect to see them at the seminar next week.

And for anyone who values open government, this seminar is for you. Remember — it’s your right to know.