Manatee County Clerk of the Court kicks off Sunshine Week with newly established public records seminars

In recognition of Sunshine Week, a nationwide initiative being celebrated March 10-16, 2019, the office of the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller is launching a series of workshops to discuss the public records resources available and Manatee County citizens’ access to them.

The first program will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 at the McClure Center of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce in Lakewood Ranch at 4215 Concept Court. Speakers from different departments of the Manatee County Clerk of the Court will discuss topics such as Board of County Commission meeting minutes, court records, land use records, historical records and the public’s right to view them.

“Upholding government transparency with accurate recordkeeping and efficient reporting is a priority for our office every day,” said Angel Colonneso, the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller. “We wanted to reach out to the community to assist the public in navigating our website and searching the Clerk records. Our team thought that Sunshine Week was an appropriate time to launch this initiative, and we plan to visit various areas of the county with this workshop over time. My hope is that citizens who utilize these sessions will find it helpful in their record searches.”

In Colonneso’s role as the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, she serves as the custodian of public records for the courts and Manatee County, as clerk to the Board of County Commissioners and as chief financial officer and auditor of all Manatee County funds. Colonneso is dedicated to providing access to Clerk’s records in the easiest and most cost-effective manner possible.

Sunshine Week aims to promote a healthy dialogue regarding the importance of open government and freedom of information while also seeking to enlighten citizens on what the government does and why.

Florida's Sunshine Laws are among the strongest in the country, giving everyone access to important public information. These laws protect a citizen's right to remain informed and engaged, making data such as financial reports, Board of County Commission meeting minutes and court records available to all.

Last year, the Manatee County Clerk of the Court unveiled a directory of public records contact information through the Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers.The directory on flclerks.com helps citizens connect with the appropriate Clerk’s office department or search records online and will be available through each Court Clerk’s office in the state.