2009 Annual e-Government Awards
On Thursday, March 19th at 1pm Common Cause Massachusetts held its annual e-Government Awards in the Nurses’ Hall in the State House. These awards honor those towns and cities in Massachusetts that have made government more accessible via the Internet. For the full audit of municipal websites, please vist www.maopengov.org.
e-Government Award Recipients:
In order to qualify for an e-Government Award, the town or city must post their governing body's agenda and minutes, budget information, general by-laws, and--if applicable--their town meeting warrant and results. At present, the following 119 municipalities meet these criteria:
Amesbury, Amherst, Andover, Arlington, Ashburnham, Ashland, Barnstable, Becket, Bedford, Bellingham, Belmont, Bolton, Boston, Boxborough, Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge, Carver, Charlton, Chatham, Chelmsford, Chelsea, Chilmark, Concord, Dalton, Dedham, Dennis, Dudley, Dunstable, Duxbury, East Longmeadow, Eastham, Easton, Egremont, Everett, Falmouth, Fitchburg, Freetown, Gardner, Gill, Gloucester, Haverhill, Holden, Holland, Holliston, Holyoke, Hopkinton, Hudson, Ipswich, Kingston, Lakeville, Leominster, Littleton, Longmeadow, Lowell, Malden, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marlborough, Marshfield, Mashpee, Maynard, Melrose, Methuen, Millbury, Milton, Monterey, Nantucket, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Norfolk, North Andover, North Reading, Northampton, Northborough, Northbridge, Orange, Orleans, Otis*, Paxton, Pembroke, Pepperell, Provincetown, Reading, Rockland, Rockport, Salem, Salisbury, Sandwich, Saugus, Scituate, Sharon, Sheffield, Somerville, South Hadley, Southwick, Springfield, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sudbury, Sutton, Tewksbury, Topsfield, Upton, Walpole, West Boylston, West Springfield, Westford, Westminster, Weston, Westwood, Weymouth, Wilbraham, Williamstown, Winchester, Winthrop, Woburn, Worcester, and Wrentham.
e-Government Award with Distinction Recipients:
In order to qualify for an e-Government Award with Distinction, the town or city must fulfill requirements above, as well as provide archived governing board agenda and minutes, zoning by-laws, school committee agendas and minutes, agendas and minutes for an additional board or committee, and a calendar with all public meetings. At present, the following 51 communities meet this criteria:
Amherst, Andover, Arlington, Bolton, Boston, Burlington, Chatham, Chelmsford, Concord, Dedham, Duxbury, East Longmeadow, Easton, Falmouth, Freetown, Gardner, Gill, Gloucester, Haverhill, Holden, Ipswich, Kingston, Lakeville, Littleton, Lowell, Marshfield, Maynard, Methuen, Monterey, Nantucket, Needham, Newton, North Andover, North Reading, Provincetown, Reading, Salem, Salisbury, Sandwich, Springfield, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sudbury, Sutton, Tewksbury, West Boylston, Westford, Weston, Westwood, Weymouth, Worcester, and Wrentham.
Accessibility means different things to different people.
There is another way of looking at web accessibility: can a municipal website be viewed easily by people with disabilities? Just the long flight of stairs up to the imposing Greek revival town hall building can prevent access to government to the disabled, so too can a poorly constructed website.
Eileen Feldman of the Community Access Project of Somerville drew our attention to the fact that some of the best websites are very difficult to access for people with disabilities. All of these are simple fixes, for example adding an electronic 'caption' that can be read by screen readers and other software.
If you'd like to see how compliant your own town's website is, click here to go to the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE).