“Public notice is truly a partnership between newspapers and local government,” PNRC President Bradley Thompson told the Michigan Association of County Clerks at their summer meeting on Aug. 22 in Grand Rapids. “We both have mandates to do it properly.”
Thompson (photo on left courtesy of Michigan Press Association), chairman and CEO of the Detroit Legal News Co., used the remainder of his speech to define what proper public notice entails, and to place it in context as part of the three-legged stool of transparent government: Public notice, open meetings and freedom of information.
“The Q&A and the clerks’ comments were much more interesting than my prepared remarks,” Thompson told us after the speech. “My major takeaway from that part of the program is that the clerks do look at us as partners in informing the public. It’s also clear they think we could be doing more to help them.”
The list of requests from the clerks included ensuring that public notice advertisements are always run properly, making them easier to read and find in both print and online formats, and helping them educate other elected officials regarding their responsibilities to hold open meetings and respond to FOIA requests.
“There was some complaining about how much we charge them,” noted Thompson, “but if we do a better job of delivering value, I think that will diminish. It’s certainly nice to have them more as allies than adversaries.”