Daily Court Reporter - News Treasurer Josh Mandel announces launch of the Village of Portage checkbook on OhioCheckbook.com
Treasurer Josh Mandel announces launch of the Village of Portage checkbook on OhioCheckbook.com
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel recently announced the launch of the Village of Portage’s online checkbook on OhioCheckbook.com. In December 2014, Treasurer Mandel launched OhioCheckbook.com, which sets a new national standard for government transparency and for the first time in Ohio history puts all state spending information on the internet. OhioCheckbook.com recently earned Ohio the number one government transparency ranking in the country for the third year in a row.
Portage is the 11th village in Wood County to post their spending on OhioCheckbook.com. Portage’s online checkbook includes over 4,300 individual transactions that represent more than $1.2 million of total spending over the past five years.
“I believe the people of Wood County have a right to know how their tax money is being spent, and I applaud local leaders here for partnering with my office to post the finances on OhioCheckbook.com,” said Treasurer Mandel. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable.”
“As Fiscal Officer, I take great pride in serving the people of the Village of Portage,” said Village of Portage Fiscal Officer, Duane Donaldson. “I believe that by displaying village spending through the OhioCheckbook.com, we will be able to demonstrate the level of concern and care by which we spend the public dollars entrusted to us by the hardworking people of this community.”
On April 7, 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 extending 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.
A large coalition of statewide and local government organizations have expressed support for OhioCheckbook.com and local government transparency, including:
• Ohio Municipal League
• Ohio Township Association
• Ohio Association of School Business Officials
• Buckeye Association of School Administrators
• County Commissioner Association of Ohio
• County Auditor Association of Ohio
• Ohio Newspaper Association
• Ohio Society of CPAs
• Buckeye Institute
• Common Cause Ohio
OhioCheckbook.com was launched on December 2, 2014, marking the first time in Ohio history when citizens could actually see every expenditure in state government. Since its launch, OhioCheckbook.com has received overwhelming support from newspapers and groups across the state and, as of June 27, 2018 there have been more than 978,000 total searches on the site.
OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $644 billion in spending over the past ten years, including more than 173 million transactions. The website includes cutting-edge features such as:
• “Google-style” contextual search capabilities, to allow users to sort by keyword, department, category or vendor;
• Fully dynamic interactive charts to drill down on state spending;
• Functionality to compare state spending year-over-year or among agencies; and,
• Capability to share charts or checks with social media networks, and direct contact for agency fiscal offices.
In March 2015, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) released their annual “Following the Money 2015” report and Treasurer Mandel earned Ohio the number one transparency ranking in the country for providing online access to government spending data. Ohio was prominently featured in the report after climbing from 46th to 1st in spending transparency as a result of Treasurer Mandel’s release of OhioCheckbook.com. Due to the launch of OhioCheckbook.com, Ohio received a perfect score of 100 points – the highest score in the history of the U.S. PIRG transparency rankings.
In April 2016, U.S. PIRG announced that Treasurer Mandel earned Ohio the number one government transparency ranking in the country for the second consecutive year in a row. Due to the launch of OhioCheckbook.com, 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.
In April 2018, Ohio once again earned the number one ranking in the country for government transparency for the third consecutive year by U.S. PIRG. Due to OhioCheckbook.com, Ohio again received the highest score in the nation. U.S. PIRG cited Ohio’s addition of local governments, pension funds and public universities to OhioCheckbook.com as a primary reason for the high ranking, and praised Ohio for setting the national standard for state spending transparency.
The Treasurer’s office is partnering with OpenGov, a leading Silicon Valley government technology company, to provide residents of Ohio the ability to view and search local government expenditures in a user-friendly, digital format. “Ohio is setting the standard for financial transparency on an unprecedented scale. We are excited to partner with the Treasurer’s office to bring world-class technology to communities large and small across the state,” said Zachary Bookman, CEO of OpenGov.
For more information or to view your local government website, visit the Local Government option on OhioCheckbook.com or click on Portage.OhioCheckbook.com.
About the Treasurer of Ohio's Office
The Treasurer of State is the state’s cash manager and chief investment officer with the duty of managing and collecting public funds. A brief description of the departments within the Treasurer of State’s office is listed below.
The Accounting department consists of two sections: General Ledger & Reconciliation and Warrant Processing. Clients include numerous state agencies, boards and commissions, including the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the Public Employees Retirement System and the State Teachers Retirement System. Personnel reconcile all accounts, research exceptions and ensure that corrections are completed on the General Ledger. The Warrant Processing Division processes state warrants and warrants for several custodial entities such as the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the state retirement systems and unemployment compensation.
Administration manages the Treasurer’s office operations and directs office-wide policies as they relate to Treasurer’s office staff. The department also provides administrative support for the Treasurer and works with department directors to implement programs and policies as directed by the Treasurer.
Center for Public Investment Management and Financial Literacy
The Center for Public Investment Management (CPIM) provides continuing education to Ohio’s public funds managers and their oversight authorities. It is CPIM’s mission to offer the highest standard of comprehensive education and instruction in the areas of cash management, investments, public finance, compliance and reporting.
Additionally, the Treasurer’s office provides Ohioans with helpful tools to make informed decisions in personal finance. The office engages non-profit organizations, cultivates public-private partnerships, and leverages technology to connect citizens and educators with helpful and innovative financial education resources.
The Communications Department is responsible for coordinating internal and external communications involving Treasurer’s office goals, services, initiatives, and accomplishments. The dissemination of this information is accomplished through the news media, the OhioTreasurer.gov website, Treasury publications and other communication.
The Office of Debt Management provides debt management services over two primary functional disciplines: debt issuance and debt administration. Debt Management oversees the issuance of debt for which the Treasurer’s office serves as the issuing authority. Primary debt issuance responsibilities include structuring, document review, pricing and closing. Debt Management is responsible for providing debt administration services for both Ohio’s general obligation debt and other state debt that the Treasurer is responsible for issuing. Debt administration duties include: reporting, paying agent functions, bond registrar services, debt certification, debt repayment, and revenue/disbursement processing.
Human Resources and Fiscal Services
Human Resources and Fiscal Services are responsible for developing and monitoring the budget for the Treasurer’s office and managing day-to-day operating expenses. It is also responsible for the purchase of goods and services for the office. In addition, the department administers all human resource activities including recruitment and selection, labor and employee relations, employee training and development, and payroll and benefits.
Information Technology Services
The Information Technology Services Department is responsible for supporting, developing and implementing technical solutions that promote efficiencies, align with business processes, keep pace with emerging technologies and ensure the safety and security of all digital assets.
The Internal Audit Department helps the Treasury accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluating and improving the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.
The primary responsibility of the Investments Department is to actively manage the state’s multi-billion dollar investment portfolios. These portfolios include the State of Ohio Regular Account (including the General Revenue Fund), the Ohio Lottery Deferred Prizes Trust Fund and STAR Ohio. The department also oversees administration of the STAR Plus local government investment program. The Investments Department is responsible for developing strategies designed to maintain target levels of safety, liquidity and yield as directed by the Treasurer’s Investment Policy.
Legislative and Policy
The Legislative and Policy Department serves as the liaison between the Treasurer’s office and General Assembly. The department also identifies, researches and develops policy positions and initiatives affecting the Treasurer’s office.
Additionally, the department serves as the liaison between the Treasurer’s office and the citizens of Ohio. The department responds to inquiries from the public on any topic and provides assistance in navigating state government.
The Project Management Department works closely with administration to implement and develop office wide goals and policy initiatives. As part of their work, the Project Management Department coordinates efforts between various departments and groups to collaborate on TOS projects.
The Public Affairs Department works to expand partnerships through the Treasurer’s Transparency Project and OhioCheckbook.com. This is done by building relationships with local public officials and community leaders.
Public Affairs also work as a direct extension of the central Columbus office of the Treasurer’s office and serve as the Treasurer’s first line of contact for local entities in a specific geographic region. Responsibilities include partnering with departments in the Treasurer’s office to provide resources to Ohio’s citizens. This is done by building relationships with local officeholders, small business owners, community leaders and constituents.
The Revenue Management Department is responsible for the collecting, processing and payment of state revenue, expanding the state’s use of electronic payments and providing cash management services to state agencies. This department includes the Cashiers Division, E-Payments Division and Lockbox Revenue Division.
The STABLE Department is responsible for the administration and oversight of STABLE Accounts. STABLE Accounts are tax-free investment accounts designed to empower individuals with disabilities. This department works with individuals, families and advocacy groups to provide educational opportunities and information on STABLE Accounts.
The Trust Department is comprised of the Compliance Division and the Trust Operations Division and oversees the safekeeping of investments for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation; Ohio Tuition Trust Authority; State Teachers Retirement System; Public Employees Retirement System; Police and Fire Pension Fund; State Highway Patrol Retirement Fund; School Employees Retirement System; and the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Fund. In addition, the department monitors whether custodial banks are in compliance with state depository agreements as they relate to custody services and whether securities-lending agents appointed by the Treasurer are in compliance with the Treasurer’s policies. This division is also responsible for ensuring that sufficient and eligible collateral is pledged by all state depositories, and manages the safekeeping of securities for various state agencies.
Date Published: July 26, 2018