The North Carolina Open Government Coalition awarded the 2023 Sunshine Award for Government work to Janet Pierson, clerk for the Town of Huntersville. The award was presented at the annual N.C. News and Information Summit held at Elon University on Sunshine Day.
The Sunshine Award recognizes Pierson’s more than 20 years of dedicated service to the town and to Huntersville residents seeking records of town business. Pierson is a standout public information officer and clerk. She maintains high standards of transparency and professionalism even while marshaling limited resources and navigating the uncertainty that comes with providing municipal services.
In an e-mail interview, Pierson stressed the importance of adapting public records fulfillment to changes in technology, “It is no longer just written or email communications that are maintained. Now we have to track and archive social media engagements and so much more. When you can provide records that accurately support an action or discount any cries of lack of transparency, you maintain the trust of the community you serve.”
Eric Rowell, a Huntersville resident and 2022 Sunshine Award winner for Citizen transparency work said, “Janet Pierson is deserving because of her constant professionalism and dedication to her job. She is caring, patient, and always very thorough in ensuring records requests are responded to in full and in a timely manner. She can often be found working at town hall on Sunday mornings just to make sure a records request gets fulfilled without delay.”
Pierson’s commitment to transparency in local government sets a shining example for municipal clerks who aim to balance the requirements of the public records law with limited resources and their communities’ robust information needs.