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Petersen named to web task force

by John Kennedy | August 26th, 2013

Barbara Petersen, longtime president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation, the news organization-backed open government advocacy group, was named Monday to a legislative panel examining public access to state  records and contracts.

Petersen was Senate President Don Gaetz’s pick for the four-person User Experience Task Force, which is expected to make recommendations for next spring’s Legislature. The task force is working on methods to consolidate existing state-managed websites into a single portal that will give the public access to state financial documents.

“Barbara Peterson is Florida’s respected guardian of open records, open meetings and open government,” Gaetz said. “Her leadership of the First Amendment Foundation gives credibility and reliability to this important work.”

The task force has grown out of questions stemming from the Florida Senate’s $5 million contract with Spider Data Services, which developed a site dubbed Transparency 2.0 to give legislators and staff a window into the budget, state contracts and personnel services. The system was ready to launch in November 2011 but was never unveiled.

The Senate has been in a legal battle with Spider Data over payment on the contract.

The Senate has said there are problems with the service and has concerns about how the contract was reached under the previous administration of Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne. But some open government advocates say Spider Data’s site may have proved a too open window into how items get inserted into the state budget by lawmakers.


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