Over the last several decades, local, state and federal government entities in the
United States have steadily moved toward more openness and transparency. By
definition, openness and transparency allow stakeholders to gather information
that may be critical to their interests and offer channels of communication between
stakeholders and elected officials. Aided by legislative mandates and public policy
decisions, most government entities are now required to make a minimum amount
of information available to citizens, operate in the “sunlight” and not behind closed
doors, and actively engage citizens in the policy-making process.