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Faulkner County Takes Another Step Forward on Transparency

By Joyce Ajayi and Mavuto Kalulu

Faulkner County continued its transparency progress in 2020.

On October 20, 2020, the Faulkner County Quorum Court passed into law the County Board Transparency Report Ordinance, Ordinance 20-21. Kris Kendrick, Justice of the Peace (Dist. 9), introduced this legislation to help enhance county government transparency. The ordinance will increase transparency in Faulkner County by mandating all county boards publish their reports online. Now, boards like the Election Commission Board, Lake Conway Community Wastewater Utility Board, Public Facilities Board, Library Board, and Volunteer Fire Department Board can make vital information easily accessible online to residents. Residents can now have easy access to information like board activities, the purpose of the board, the applicable ordinance governing each board, names, phone numbers, emails, and contact addresses of board members. 

This kind of openness in county government makes it easy for residents to know their county officials, direct questions to them, and hold them accountable. This is not the first time Faulkner County has passed ordinances to improve transparency in recent times. In 2019, the Faulkner County Quorum Court passed an ordinance ensuring open and transparent bidding and contracting process, Ordinance 19-22. This law provides residents access to information on how their county government is conducting business and spending their tax money. ACRE Policy Analyst Dr. Mavuto Kalulu testified in support of the ordinance which was also sponsored by Kendrick.  For more information about what was discussed, see this ACRE Review blog post by ACRE Communications Coordinator Caleb Taylor. 

Our annual Online County Web Transparency Index published by the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics tracks county transparency in Arkansas. In the inaugural report published in 2018, Faulkner County scored 0.365. Because of efforts such as the County Board Transparency Report Ordinance, Faulkner County is steadily improving. In the 2019 report, it scored 0.599. Preliminary results from the 2020 report also show that Faulkner improved its transparency standing. We commend Faulkner County for its efforts at increasing transparency. We see conscientious efforts made by Faulkner County to be more transparent and accessible to residents every year. We celebrate the public officials working towards making the county more transparent.  

Mavuto Kalulu and Joyce Ajayi are policy analysts at the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and coauthors of “Access Arkansas: County Web Transparency,” an annual report on the accessibility of fiscal, administrative, and political information in Arkansas counties. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Central Arkansas.