In order to further the goal of government transparency, Governor Rick Scott announced Project Sunburst. E-mails to and from the Governor will be accessible to the public through an online, read-only e-mail viewer. In addition, e-mails to and from 11 members of the Governor’s Office leadership team, who currently constitute more than 80 percent of the public records requests for e-mails, will be available. This unprecedented step gives the citizens of Florida and members of the media an open and transparent window into how their state government works.
“Since my first day in office, I have committed to making sure the citizens of our state have access to the information they need to hold their state government accountable,” Governor Scott said. “I invite Floridians to view my e-mails, as well as those of my leadership team, to learn more about how we are working to make Florida the best state for businesses to grow and expand and create jobs.”
E-mails are available with search capabilities on the Governor’s website at www.flgov.com/sunburst through Microsoft Outlook Web Access. Individuals can access the Sunburst system by using the user name and password sunburst.
Governor Scott emphasized that Project Sunburst does not replace the current process for public records requests and that all public records requests will continue to be honored.
The Governor’s Project Sunburst policy requires e-mails to be posted within seven days of receipt or creation unless permission has been granted for an extended deadline. However, the goal is for e-mails to be available within 24 hours.
Sunburst participants will categorize e-mail, and the Governor’s Office of Open Government will review withheld e-mail and make all public records available online. Any exempt items that require redaction will continue to be available through a public records request.
In the coming months, Project Sunburst will be expanded to include other agencies within the Executive Branch.
Last year, Governor Scott launched the website FloridaHasARightToKnow.com that gave the public access to state employee salary information, state pensions with annual benefits of $100,000 or more and information on the review of state rules and regulations.