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Lower Merion recipient of ‘Open Book Award’ for best practices in government transparency

Published Friday, November 16, 2012

MALVERN, PA – Nov. 16, 2012 – The Suburban REALTORS® Alliance announced today that Lower Merion Township is the recipient of the organization’s first annual “Open Book Award for Transparency in Local Government.” The township was chosen from 238 municipalities in southeastern Pennsylvania for its efforts to provide residents and local businesses with detailed, up‐to‐date information about public meetings, proposed ordinances, and existing rules and regulations.

The Alliance will present the award to Lower Merion officials during the township’s next council meeting on Monday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. Council meetings are held in the second floor board room of the township administration building located at 75 East Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, PA.

“The Open Book Award recognizes the efforts of boroughs and townships in southeastern Pennsylvania to put the publics’ right‐to‐know at the forefront of their business and activities,” said Jamie Ridge, President/CEO of the Alliance. “Lower Merion Township’s willingness to provide easy and open access to critical public information is an excellent example for other area municipalities to emulate.”

Among Lower Merion’s best practices are a robust municipal website with access to key documents, meeting minutes and agendas; a government access cable television channel that offers live coverage of meetings; and openly encouraging communication between staff, elected officials and residents and businesses in the township.

“While residents of Lower Merion may not agree with every decision made by township officials, they are privileged to have open access to the process used to make those decisions,” said Ridge. “That is certainly not the case in all municipalities, some of which hold on too tightly to information that should be easily accessible to the tax‐paying public.”

 “We at Lower Merion Township are proud to receive this honor, and feel that openness and responsiveness to our citizens is very important in improving the knowledge and understanding of those we serve,” commented Doug Cleland, Lower Merion’s Township Manager. “We’re positive that because the SRA has initiated this award, transparency in local government will continue to represent a high standard for us all to strive to meet.”

Established in 1998, the 9,000 member Suburban REALTORS Alliance is a subsidiary of the three largest local REALTOR associations in Pennsylvania: the Bucks County; Montgomery County and Suburban West (Chester and Delaware Counties) Associations of REALTORS. The mission of the Alliance is to encourage public policy decisions that create a positive climate for real estate sales, consumers, and property rights.

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