Florida Governor Rick Scott today unveiled “Project Sunburst,” offering incredible next-day access to the inboxes of most senior staff members. You can literally scroll through and read emails sent to his Communications Director, Chief-of-Staff, etc. Most of these emails are from reporters, understandably.
- After a back and forth about questions regarding Angela Corey, New York Times national correspondent Serge Kovaleski tells Scott spokesperson Brian Burgess that “no one here is interested in your games” and that “perhaps your staff should act more responsibility.”
- Tampa Bay Times Reporter Katie Sanders gives the Scott press team heads up that Politifact will soon rule a statement from Lt. Governor Carroll as “false.”
- Daily reporter call logs from every Governor’s agency are accessible – basically revealing what every reporter in the state is working on in relation to any part of state government.
- National Journal superstar Beth Reinhart is working on a story about how Democrats will be linking Rick Scott and other unpopular Governors to Mitt Romney.
The daily reporter call logs were once sent out by mistake during Charlie Crist’s administration, thus far the most open, transparent executive branch in Florida history. Apologies were swift, as reporters, understandably, weren’t happy to have enterprise stories and leads revealed to all other reporters.
The impact of this open government initiative cannot be overstated. And they are promising more.
From the press release:
“In the coming months, Project Sunburst will be expanded to include other agencies within the Executive Branch.”
From Tampa Bay Times:
“As always the devil is in the details,” said Barbara Peterson, director of the First Amendment Foundation whose organization spent thousands trying to get the emails of the governor’s top staff when Scott first came into office. “But providing real time access to email is a very positive and proactive step.”
It’s possible that this is a bold move to distract from all the “lost” emails from Rick Scott – but I find it hard to believe that argument. This level of transparency is unbelievable. I’m assuming that we will soon be able to sort through “sent” emails in addition to the “inbox.” I’m sure Governor’s Office staff have already adjusted to this new initiative, but it will be interesting how reporters will react. Rest assured, this initiative will result in more work for someone at the Florida Democratic Party. One I never imagined coming from Rick Scott.
I’m still processing the impact of this openness. What do you think?
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