Mayor's Office

Press Release

City of Houston Website Wins National Transparency Award



March 20, 2013 -- Houston is among the winners of the fourth annual Sunny Awards issued by the Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to government transparency.  The award, which honors the most transparent government websites in the nation, went to only 22 cities nationwide.


“We understand the importance of promoting transparency in everything we do,” said Mayor Annise Parker.  “We are honored to receive a Sunny Award and will continue to empower citizens by providing the necessary information to keep them informed on the actions their government is taking on their behalf.” 


For the 2013 awards, editors at Sunshine Review analyzed more than 1,000 qualifying government websites and graded each on a 10-point transparency checklist. Editors looked at content available on government websites against what should be provided. They sought information on items such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes. The winners of the Sunny Award all received an “A” grade during the extensive grading process.


“The Sunny Awards recognize governments that make transparency a priority. The winners of the Sunny Awards are cities, counties and school districts that proactively share the public information that empowers citizens and keeps government accountable to the people,” said Michael Barnhart, President of Sunshine Review. “We would like to congratulate Houston for being a champion for transparency and serving as a leader to every state and local government around the nation.”


Eight states earned nearly half of the total number of 247 Sunny Awards given to governmental entities. The leading states were Florida (25), Virginia (19), Illinois (19), California (12), Georgia (12), Kansas (11), Oklahoma (10) and Colorado (9). In addition, 35 counties, 22 cities and 42 school districts from all over the country earned the coveted “A+” grade.


The Sunny Awards announcement falls during the annual observance of “Sunshine Week,” March 10-16, a period nationally recognized by hundreds of media and civic organizations, that celebrates the efforts of activists and the strides taken towards open government.

About the Sunshine Review
Sunshine Review is a nonprofit organization dedicated to state and local government transparency. Sunshine Review collaborates with individuals and organizations throughout America in the cause of an informed citizenry and a transparent government. Since its inception in 2008, Sunshine Review has analyzed the websites of all 50 states and more than 7,000 state and local entities.  For information about the Sunshine Review please contact Meghan Tisinger at or (703) 965-1145.