Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel last week announced partnerships with Franklin Township, Green Township, Bratton Township, Meigs Township and the Ohio Treasurer’s office to place the townships’ spending online at OhioCheckbook.com. Last year, 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 ranking in the country for government transparency.
Franklin Township, Green Township, Bratton Township and Meigs Township are the first local governments in Adams County to partner with the Treasurer’s office to post their spending online at OhioCheckbook.com.
On April 7, 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.
“I believe the people of Adams County have a right to know how their tax money is being spent and I applaud local leaders here for partnering with the Treasurer’s office to post their finances on OhioCheckbook.com,” said Treasurer Mandel. “My vision is to create an army of citizen watchdogs who are empowered to hold public officials accountable.”
“I really believe this information belongs to the people,” said Franklin Township Fiscal Officer Diane Ward. “I say let the sunshine in by opening the books and putting the information online. I really do want to be open and upfront with the taxpayers who trust us to spend their money wisely.”
“I felt personally compelled to do this because I do not have anything to hide,” said Green Township Fiscal Officer Joyce Rideout. “I work for the people of this township and I want to communicate with the residents how their money is being spent.”
“This tool provides ease of information to the public,” said Bratton Township Fiscal Officer Angela McCoy. “I already take time to report this information to the state. Why not in turn make it available to the people I am dedicated to serve as an official of the township?”
“Adopting the online checkbook in the township simplifies the measures we should be taking as government officials to be transparent,” said Meigs Township Fiscal Officer Carla Wesley. “To me, this is an important voluntary step in honoring the current mandates that hold government accountable.”
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
-Common Cause Ohio
OhioCheckbook.com was launched on Dec. 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 December 18, 2015 there have been more than 412,000 total searches on the site.
OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $490 billion in spending over the past eight years, including more than 134 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, 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 this year – the highest score in the history of the U.S. PIRG transparency rankings.
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 visit OhioCheckbook.com.