Want to know how much the superintendent makes? That's an open record.
Want to watch town officials deliberate and decide what to do about a proposed development? That's an open meeting.
Simsbury Patch is observing Sunshine Week 2012, which runs until Saturday. As part of that observation, we want to share with you some of the open government resources available to anyone.
You have the right to see the records the government keeps — from health inspection reports to employee salaries to the entire municipal or school district budget — and to be present at the meetings where governmental business gets done. The expectation is that government is open — if they want to close the meeting or keep a document confidential, they need to say why. And in most cases, they aren't allowed to ask who you are or why you want to see the record you're requesting.
If you know of an open government issue you'd like Simsbury Patch to look into, email Simsbury Patch Editor Jeff Brush at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See for yourself
The Internet has made it easier to access a lot of public information. As governments go digital, the amount of information available online has grown. Here are links to some online databases you can search.
- For Simsbury property records, ordinances and more, visit the town website.
- How much do Connecticut elected officals and judges earn?
- Look up licenses and complaint records on the state licensing website.
- Look up CMT and CAPT results by school district
- Search court cases on the Connecticut Judicial Branch website
- See which sex offenders live in your area
If you want to dig into the legal aspects of it, here are links to the statutes and guidelines from the state, and a state website with links to public information of all kinds.