Outer Banks Sentinel

Celebrate Sunshine!

The Town of Nags Head and the Outer Banks Sentinel will present the Sunshine Week Open Government Forum at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, at the Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting room at the county administration building.

Free and open to the public, the format for this year’s celebratory event will include a panel discussion of the topic by experts who will share their experiences from their own unique perspectives.

“This is going to be an informative and interesting evening,” said Town Manager Cliff Ogburn. “We know that the conversation is going to inspire others to step forward and insist that officials at all levels maintain a level of transparency that allows the public to know what their government is doing.”

Panel participants include:

Bob Orr, former NC Supreme Court justice, is the founder of the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law. NCICL was formed in 2003 and has actively litigated since that time in both the North Carolina and federal courts.

Les Merritt, former State Auditor, is the co-founder of the Foundation for Ethics in Public Service, Inc., an organization seeking to achieve transparency, accountability, and integrity to all levels of government receiving and independently investigating allegations of corruption in government, providing reports of corruption to investigative journalists, and pro-actively educating government leaders and the general public on the true nature of ethics in government as well as the causes and remedies of public corruption.

Bob Hall is the executive director and research director of Democracy NC, which uses research, organizing, and advocacy to increase voter participation, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and achieve a government that is truly of the people, for the people, and by the people.


The three nonprofit, nonpartisan representatives will be joined by attorney David Elliot, director of Victims and Citizens Services at NC Department of Justice and head of the Open Government Unit established by Attorney General Roy Cooper. A graduate of Duke University School of Law, before joining the AG’s office in 1997, he was in private practice and served two years as a judicial law clerk at US District Court. He helped draft the current Open Government bill currently in the General Assembly.

“I think that this program will help people to understand that demanding accountability and compliance with the State’s Open Government laws are not just the media’s responsibility. To achieve open government, everyone has to understand that democracy is a participatory sport,” said Sandy Semans, Outer Banks Sentinel managing editor.

The panel portion of the program will be followed by a question and answer period.