Bunney to host open-government forum

Getting public information to the public is the subject of an open-government forum hosted by Pierce County Councilmember Shawn Bunney on June 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Tacoma Library’s main branch.

The forum is intended to gather public input on how county agencies should respond to public-records requests and what the duties of Bunney’s proposed public-records ombudsman should be. Speakers include Washington state’s Attorney General Rob McKenna, who wrote the state’s public disclosure guidelines, and Auditor Brian Sonntag, who is responsible for monitoring compliance with open meetings and records laws.

“Openness is a prerequisite of responsible and responsive government,” Bunney said. “I plan to make openness a guiding principle in Pierce County government by introducing legislation that incorporates open-government functions into the County Code and our day-to-day operations.”

Bunney also plans to create a county public records ombudsman to assist the public in their interactions with county departments, particularly where those interactions involve requests for public records.

“Some jurisdictions simply dump public records responsibilities on an existing employee without allotting extra time or funding,” Bunney said. “I believe true public access requires more than that.”

The Tacoma Library Main Branch is located at 1102 Tacoma Ave., Tacoma. The public is welcome.