ROCK ISLAND: B
WEBSITE (32/32 points): The new website for the City of Rock Island has an updated appearance and is easy to navigate.
Agendas and council meetings get their own tabs on the homepage, along with employment opportunities, online payments and other frequently used areas.
Rock Island City Council meetings are live-streamed from the website.
Minutes and agendas are available back to 2009. The website also contains a staff directory link at the bottom of the homepage, which lists phone numbers and emails for many city staffers.
The site also provides phone numbers and email addresses for aldermen.
MEETINGS (9/25 points): In a FOIA request, the Times sought the total number of council meetings held over the past five years, including the number of closed-door sessions held in the same period.
From 2012 to 2016, there were 176 regular City Council meetings, and aldermen went into executive session 115 times. The rate of closed-door sessions was highest in Rock Island among all the local governments evaluated for this project.
BUDGET/FINANCIALS (35/35 points): Rock Island’s budget is listed under “Government” at the top of the homepage, then under "finances."
There are 10 years of budgets available, while the 2017 budget is labelled “pending.” Each contains more than 300 pages but has helpful tables of contents.
Charts and graphs help with the voluminous documents, which also contain executive summaries.
RECORDS (10/10 points): The Times issued a FOIA request for Rock Island’s expenses from Oct. 10-14, 2016, including payroll. The city responded quickly with 25 pages of documents that fully satisfied the request.
Rock Island did not charge any fees for the records, as they were supplied in the public interest.