Alabama county overhauls website as part of transparency push

Limestone County IT Director David Freeman details his staff’s efforts to overhaul the county’s website and make the government more transparent.

Alabamas Limestone County doesnt have an especially large government it serves just roughly 90,000 residents but IT Director David Freeman is committed to keeping it transparent.

Ever since Mark Yarbrough, the chairman of the county commission, took office last November, Freeman said his staff has been working to meet the new administrations vision of making the government more open. The countys first step was to overhaul its website in attempt to make more intuitive, Freeman said.

Weve been working with an advertising and branding company to not just roll out a website, but … really make it smart government, so we could reach out and not just give the citizens the answers they want, but ask them What do you want? What do you need from us, what do you want to do? Freeman told StateScoop during an interview at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual conference in October.

Freeman said the county is currently working to add geographic information systems tools and business analytics to the site to showcase Limestones big data efforts. But in the short term, Freeman has put a focus on beefing up the countys live streaming of government meetings, and he noted that people can watch all of the county commissions gatherings in real time.

For a lot of people, that doesnt sound like a lot, but for a little rural county, it was really pretty good, and that in itself kind of helped citizens get engaged, Freeman said.