The Missouri branch of a national initiative highlighting those who support transparency and open government has recognized the efforts of a Creve Coeur City Councilwoman.
Thursday, the Missouri Sunshine Coalition presented its Sunshine Hero awards to Ward 4 Councilwoman Jeanne Rhoades and KMOV Investigative Reporter Craig Cheatham.
Rhoades was nominated by Ward Four Councilwoman Laura Bryant, who specifically mentioned Rhoades' work to get the Missouri Attorney General's office to issue an opinion which stated:
A citizen's advisory committee established by a city to make recommendations concerning city policy, such as a city's municipal land use plan, is a public governmental body and, therefore, must keep a journal or minutes of its meetings,"
The opinion also said the committees needed to keep a record of votes, make meetings and records open to the public unless the law allows otherwise.
"While I am certainly honored by this recognition, this award is not about me," Rhoades said in prepared remarks delivered during the event at the University of Missouri. "But I am pleased that the lessons we've learned in the City of Creve Coeur through the Missouri Attorney General's Opinion have produced positive change throughout our entire state."
Rhoades also said the state's open records laws should be strengthened with stiffer penalties for violations, along with calling for state lawmakers to "stand up and acknowledge that the Sunshine Laws that they have crafted should apply to each of them as well," she said.
Coalition President Jim Robertson called Rhoades' work for open government on Creve Coeur City Council heroic and that it "sets the standard for public service.” National winners of the award will be honored by the American Society of News Editors next month.