‘Sunshine’ centers at ECU

Published 12:55 am Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Anyone with questions about North Carolina’s laws regarding public records and open meetings may want to attend a workshop on those subjects at East Carolina University on Nov. 3.

Elon University’s Sunshine Center and the ECU political-science department are presenting a workshop on public records and open meetings at 221 Mendenhall Student Center. The free workshop, which runs from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., will address the importance of availability of public information to public, according to a document about the workshop. Registration for the workshop begins at 1:30 p.m.

The Sunshine Center is associated with the N.C. Open Government Coalition.

“Topics include research on the impact of open government, how the media and government work together to share public information with citizens, and the role of the Sunshine Center in fostering open government in North Carolina,” reads the document.

The published agenda for the workshop follows.

2 p.m. – Carmine Scavo, with the ECU political-science department, provides the introduction to the workshop.

2:10 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – “Open Government in North Carolina,” Brooke Barnett, executive director of the Sunshine Center.

2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. – “Applying the Results of an Audit of County Officials: Toward a Testable Hypothesis of Open Government,” Ed Johnson, Campbell University’s communications department.

3 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. – Comments by Charles Twardy, ECU’s school of communication, and question-and-answer session with audience.

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Panel discussion on open government and public records with Brian Colligan, editorial page editor of Greenville’s Daily Reflector, Steve Hawley, public information office, City of Greenville; Peter Romary, director of student legal services, ECU; and question-and-answer session with audience.

4:30 p.m. – Concluding remarks.


Brooke Barnett is the executive director of the Sunshine Center at Elon University, where she also is an associate professor of communications and an administrative fellow and special assistant to the university president. Before her career in academics, Barnett worked for the Public Broadcasting System for five years, during which she produced several award-winning documentary films.

Brian Colligan has been the editorial page editor of the Daily Reflector since 2004. His undergraduate degree is from Virginia Tech and his master of public administration is from ECU. His work has been recognized with the N.C. Press Association’s 2001 and 2006 Best Editorial Writing award and the 2010 Editorial Page award.

Steve Hawley is communications manager and public information officer for the City of Greenville where his work has won Excellence in Communications Awards from North Carolina City and County Communicators. He is the host of the city of Greenville’s public-access television show “City Scene.” He also worked at WITN-TV as an on-air personality.

Ed Johnson is an associate professor of communication studies at Campbell University in Buies Creek. In 2005, he was named Professor of the Year by the Ad Club of the Triangle. Before his career at Campbell University, he worked in advertising. He taught advertising and public relations in Missouri and Nebraska before his time at Campbell University.

Peter Romary is director of student legal services at ECU. He holds a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill as well as a British law degree. Originally a British subject, he now holds U.S. citizenship. He is a certified mediator with the N.C. Dispute Resolution Commission. In 2004, he was the recipient of a papally blessed knighthood in recognition of his work combating violence against women, and in the same year received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Carmine Scavo is an associate professor of political science at ECU where he has taught for 26 years and directed the master of public administration program for 10 years. He co-directs the ECU Outreach Network and the N.C. Talent Enhancement Program, which work with small local governments and nonprofits in eastern North Carolina on funding and capacity-building issues. He and Charles Prysby of UNC-Greensboro won the 2006 Rowman-Littlefield Award for Innovative Teaching from the American Political Science Association.

Charles Twardy is an instructor in the school of communication at ECU. He holds a master of science in journalism degree and a master of arts in English from Northwestern University. His published work has appeared in newspapers such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The State (Columbia, S.C.), Orlando Sentinel, Raleigh News & Observer as well as journals such as World Architecture, Architectural Record and German Life.