Posted on

Florida’s government accountability organization executive director honored by City & State Florida and News Service Florida with Above & Beyond Award


For Immediate Release—September 20, 2023
Contact: Brad Ray,

Barbara Petersen, co-founder and executive director of the Florida Center for Government Accountability (FLCGA) was honored for her work protecting the public’s right to hold its government accountable. On September 19th, City and State Florida  and News Service Florida held the first Above and Beyond Awards Ceremony to celebrate exceptional women in the State of Florida, recognizing them for their “accomplishments across various sectors including politics, media, education, nonprofit, and beyond.”

Petersen, an attorney with over 30 years of open government law and nonprofit administration experience, served as President for the Florida First Amendment Foundation (FAF) for 25 years. Her career with FAF spanned six governorships, both democratic and republican. In addition to her policy and legislative work, Petersen has trained hundreds of  public officials, citizens, journalists, and students on the rights and responsibilities under Florida’s open government laws. After her retirement, she co-founded the Florida Center for Government Accountability with now board president Linda Penniman to fight against government corruption and the growing news desert within Florida.

“Protecting citizens’ rights and holding government accountable have been a labor of love for Barbara for many years,” said Penniman. “When given the opportunity to create a new organization that focuses on this vital work, I jumped at the chance to partner with her in creating such a unique and necessary venture.”

During her tenure as president of FAF, Petersen served on Gov. Jeb Bush’s Task Force on Privacy and Technology and was appointed chair of Gov. Crist’s Commission on Open Government Reform. She served two terms as  president of the board of directors of the National Freedom of Information Coalition and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a lifetime Achievement Award from the Media and Communications Law Committee of the Florida Bar and the Eileen Cooke Award from the American Library Association. In 2021, Petersen was inducted into the State Open Government Hall of Fame.

“Barbara has been Florida’s strongest advocate for open government for nearly 30 years,” said FLCGA Trustee Doug Wiles, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives and longtime open government advocate. “She is widely recognized as the leader in defending the state’s first amendment laws and advocating for public records access for journalists and others.”

Petersen said she is both honored and humbled to be recognized for this prestigious award.

“It is an honor to be recognized along with this distinguished group of women. And I would like to thank the City and State and New Service Florida for their recognition of our important work,” Petersen said. “I think we can all agree, however, there is still a lot of work to be done.”

For more about Above & Beyond and to see a list of the other honorees, please click here.

The Florida Center for Government Accountability gives citizens the necessary tools and information to engage government officials more effectively by helping them better understand what is happening in their local communities and the effect big money has on local politics. For more information about FLCGA, please email