The First Amendment Foundation has ranked the city of Pensacola’s website, cityofpensacola.com, third out of 47 cities in its recent report card on local government website transparency.
The First Amendment Foundation evaluated websites on a wide range of criteria including financial information, accountability data, public meetings, public records, contact information, website functionality, and frequently sought information.
CityofPensacola.com scored 74 points out of 100, tying with Deltona for the third-highest score among the cities evaluated. Only the cities of Jacksonville and Miramar received higher scores.
“When I ran for office, I pledged to make city information more readily available,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward. “My administration began posting detailed monthly financial reports online, and we’re using every medium available to keep citizens informed, including the website, social media, newsletters, television, town hall meetings, and more.”
The website is actually the second one designed for Mayor Hayward’s administration. The first one was done in his first few months of office and was designed by Hail Studio, under a contract with The 1559 Group, LLC (1559proposal ). The design contract for $55,000 (1559Contract ) was controversial at the time because there was no request for proposal and was based primarily over conversations between Hayward and two of the DeLuna Fest founders, Scott Wheatley and Nick Bodkins.
The website was launched in April 2011 and hailed by the daily newspaper as a major accomplishment for his first 100 days in office. The new site featured more graphics, updated information and social media outlets. The 1559 Group, LLC maintained the site for $2,500 per month for its first six months.
Two years later, the city of Pensacola redesigned its website again. CivicPlus was given the contract (CivicPlus ). The design and first year of maintenance only cost $38,403. The new and improved website included the ability for citizens to sign up for email and text message alerts about a variety of topics as well as the ability to submit, track, and view public records requests online.