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Daily Court Reporter - News Treasurer Josh Mandel celebrates and promotes transparency

 

Treasurer Josh Mandel celebrates and promotes transparency

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel was proud last week to celebrate National Sunshine Week, an annual initiative launched by the American Society of News Editors designed to educate the public on freedom of information and highlight the importance of an open and transparent government.

“My vision is to create an army of citizen watchdogs who are empowered to hold politicians accountable,” said Treasurer Mandel. “Taxpayers have a right to know how their hard earned money is being spent and I am proud to spearhead the effort to increase transparency across Ohio.”

A dedicated proponent of open government, Treasurer Mandel launched the Treasurer’s Transparency Project in 2011 to make Ohio government more accountable to the people.

Initiatives of the Treasurer’s Transparency Project include:

• OhioCheckbook.com – A first-of-its-kind website that places Ohio’s expenditures online for the first time in Ohio history. OhioCheckbook.com sets a new national transparency standard by not just displaying checkbook-level spending data, but also providing taxpayers with fully interactive tools and an unprecedented level of context. OhioCheckbook.com displays over $580 billion in spending over the past nine years, including more than 157 million transactions. OhioCheckbook.com recently earned Ohio the number one ranking in the country in government spending transparency for the second consecutive year by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Ohio again received the highest perfect score of 100 points – marking the second time in two years Ohio received the highest possible score in the history of the U.S. PIRG transparency rankings.

• OhioCheckbook.com: Local Governments and Schools – In April 2015, Treasurer Mandel sent a letter to 18,062 local government and school officials representing 3,962 local governments throughout the state calling on them to place their checkbook level data on OhioCheckbook.com and extended an invitation to partner with his office at no cost to local governments. These local governments include cities, counties, townships, schools, library districts and other special districts. Since that invitation, over 1,050 local governments and schools have partnered with the Treasurer’s office to post their spending online. To date, these local transparency sites represent over 30 million individual transactions equaling to more than $79 billion local expenditures.

• OhioCheckbook.com: Public Pension Funds – In September 2016, Treasurer Josh Mandel and Ohio’s five statewide public pension funds partnered together to place their checkbook-level spending information online at OhioCheckbook.com. Together, these funds posted over 132,000 individual transactions totaling more than $720 million in spending which can be found online with the click of a mouse. With this historic announcement, Ohio became the first state in the country to post the checkbooks for all statewide public pension funds online.

• OhioCheckbook.com: Public Universities - In May 2016, the Presidents of Bowling Green State University, Central State University, Miami University, Ohio University and Wright State University announced commitments as the first universities in the state to post their checkbook level expenditures on OhioCheckbook.com.

• OhioCheckbook.com: Mobile App – In November 2016, Treasurer Mandel announced a new national transparency partnership with Open The Books that includes the posting of salary information for over 2,000 local governments and schools and the creation of a new OhioCheckbook Mobile App. This app, available for free on iTunes and Android stores, allows taxpayers to search spending and salary information from the convenience of their smart phone and tablets.

• UAN Partnership: Treasurer Josh Mandel and Ohio Auditor Dave Yost joined together in August 2016 to announce a partnership between OhioCheckbook.com and the Auditor’s Uniform Accounting Network (UAN). UAN now offers a “one-stop shop” where local governments can submit their year-end financial reports and checkbook level spending information needed to join OhioCheckbook.com in a quick, easy and convenient process.

• State Salary Database – A fully searchable salary database containing information on state workers, teachers and local education employees.

• Interactive State Properties Map – A fully interactive “Google Earth” style map that leverages statewide imaging and mapping software to make detailed information about state owned properties and buildings available to all Ohioans. Since digitizing the state properties database, taxpayers can now provide feedback on properties that may be underutilized or surplus so the state can sell them or put them to better use.

• County Investments – A single website that contains monthly county investment advisory committee reports so taxpayers can easily view how their money is being invested locally.

• Archived Annual Reports – A collaborative partnership with the State Library of Ohio to present an online compilation of Annual Reports published by the Treasurer’s office since the early 1800’s. The Treasurer’s office is the first statewide agency to partner with the State Library of Ohio to facilitate the digitization and preservation of an entire collection of printed reports allowing Ohioans to follow their money like never before.

Founded by the American Society of News Editors, National Sunshine Week occurs each year in mid-March, designed to coincide with National Freedom of Information Day and the anniversary of James Madison’s birthday, who is viewed as a champion of open government. Participants include news media, nonprofits, schools, governments and other civic groups.

For more information visit www.OhioTreasurer.gov.

Date Published: March 24, 2017

 

Ohio State Treasurer

 

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