Thursday, March 31, 2022

Download the New Municipal Association of SC App

The founding principles of the Municipal Association of SC include offering the programs, services and tools that provide municipal officials the knowledge and experience to operate their local governments to the best of their ability. The Association’s newly launched app provides a new way for local officials to pursue those goals, giving a mobile-friendly way to interact with the Association, and connect with its educational and legislative resources. 

Users can use the new app to review upcoming training opportunities on the Association’s calendar. They can also use it to find municipal job openings throughout South Carolina, and find the staff listing for the Association. The app connects users with the Municipal Online Directory, which allows them to search municipalities and their officials in a number of ways, including browsing municipalities by population, or by their state representative or senator. The app can also serve as a helpful tool during meetings, training sessions and conferences for agendas, attendee lists and event information.

Previously, the Association offered standalone event apps for its Annual Meeting and Hometown Legislative Action Day. Now, those events are part of this more comprehensive app. Attendees at these meetings can read about each session and create a personalized schedule. They can also access contact information and communicate directly with speakers, exhibitors and sponsors.

The Association app is available for download on the App Store and on Google Play

To learn more about the app, contact Russell Cox at 803.933.1206 or

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Sunshine Week Focuses on Transparency

Each March, Sunshine Week spotlights the value of sharing public information and the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. In the spirit of Sunshine Week, taking place this March 13 – 19, the Municipal Association of SC is drawing attention to numerous resources to help local governments meet South Carolina’s standards for governmental transparency. 

The Association created a new video series on the Freedom of Information Act’s effect on city councils using executive session as part of their council meetings. In these videos, the Association’s General Counsel Eric Shytle examines several key points and commonly-asked questions about executive session and FOIA. The law allows councils to enter into closed sessions during a public meeting, but only for very narrowly-defined reasons. The law outlines the steps that councils must take to enter into executive session, and prohibits any votes — or even informal polling of councilmembers — during executive session. 

The Association’s Uptown publication celebrates open government in its March issue every year. For 2022, it sought out the perspectives of journalists who cover municipal government in South Carolina, sharing how transparency can help keep the public informed about the governments closest to them. The featured reporters drew attention to the difficulties that can arise when governments try to slow down or stop the release of public information. 

Another article looks at how municipal clerks develop and distribute meeting agendas and agenda packets — key pieces of public information that let the press and public know what business the council will discuss in a meeting. The issue also includes an article that explains the basics of handling public comment periods while keeping public meetings effective and orderly. 

In South Carolina, the SC Press Association serves as a major promoter of the importance of FOIA and governmental transparency, helping to ensure the public has access to relevant information and that the governments that represent them are held to the highest standards. For an overall look at FOIA specifics, see the SC Press Association’s Public Official's Guide to Compliance With South Carolina's Freedom of Information Act.