ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – A group called Better Together formed about a year and a half ago to look into possible problems with having so many municipalities in the St. Louis County area.
They wanted to know who's abiding by the Sunshine Law, which gives you access to your government.
Last year they started testing governments, including more than 20 fire districts.
Better Together`s Marius Johnson-Malone explained how his organization sent what are called Sunshine requests for public information about finances and police departments. He said some haven`t bothered to respond and others have charged hundreds of dollars for information that other cities provide free.
Johnson-Malone said, 'We have a real issue and we know there are some issues that are happening in our region. If people are serious about allowing us to commit to reform and bettering their governments then the first step is openness and transparency and in the 'Show-Me State' that should be an automatic thing for these governments.'
Some of the good examples - St. Louis County and Ballwin answered requests quickly and without cost.
Many others haven`t responded after a reported four month wait, like Berkeley. No one at Berkeley would comment.
The report says the City of Manchester reportedly charged $800 and still hasn`t responded. A city administrator there told me it`s a ton of information and the city needs another $400 to retrieve it all.