Friday, August 1, 2008

The Dawn of GASP!

UPDATE: Due to an error, GASP is currently not operational. I will let people know when it is back up.

Despite an occasional disagreement, we at the County have generally been working well across party lines. One example: GASP (Government Accountability in Spending Program, I believe).

Basically, GASP is transparency in spending and empowerment of taxpayers. Commissioner DeWine proposed it several months ago, and we all agreed it was a great idea. The Administration implemented it incredibly quickly. And beginning today, citizens, including commissioners, can scrutinize County spending at the micro-level any time they want--down to individual purchases.

I know I and my staff will be on this site a lot to find waste and excess spending, and I call on citizens to do the same, and alert us to any spending that seems excessive, unwise or inappropriate--paticularly at a time that we are so pressed financially. (Remember, we are in a spending "lockdown," where we only are supposed to be spending on things that are essential for this year). My hope is that the constant scrutiny will also lead to more general spending discipline. Comment on this blog anytime you see something noteworthy.

Example: In quickly looking at the site, I already have spotted that general fund dollars have been expended on numerous purchases of coffee service, which was something the Commission had voted to cease purchasing under our "spending caps" instituted in December 2007. I have already inquired as to how and why these purchases were made despite our clear policy. This is a small item, but these things add up quickly.

To access GASP, go to: http://www.hamiltoncountyohio.gov/hc/bocc_gasp.asp

I have already received an inquiry from a staff member of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio about this idea, because it is something they thought might be worth replicating elsewhere.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Who in the facilities dept. got to go to Ceasars, Atlantic City ?

For what purpose ?



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Anonymous said...

Pep - I think your county commissioners organization should start an e-group account wherein all counties can share their "finds" in cutting the fat from their budgets.

I think you all have found some interesting things that could benefit other counties and surely, they have found some innovative ideas in their jurisdictions.

It would just be a way of sharing the intelligence so all could benefit - even sending it to various state and federal offices.Maybe even setting up a website. I think Jackies' idea is one that could be implemented all over the country by every gov't body, board meeting, task force, in state and federal legislative offices, etc.

Our savings, compounded nationally, could really add up.

CityKin said...

Let the office workers have their coffee.

Anonymous said...

Put in a water fountain - it's better for them. If they want something that's bad for them - put in a vending machine and let it generate some income.

I think gov't workers are only now beginning to realize how lucky they are to have good jobs, benefits, extras the rest of us only dream of but pay for, for them.

David Pepper said...

Thanks for your comments.

#1 -- we'll look into that

#2 -- the National Association of Counties actually does a lot of this, and I'll be getting more active in it. We're certainly not alone as a county with challenges--we have solutions we can share with others, but we also can learn a lot as well.

On the coffee, while I understand people might disagree on the policy decision, what GASP did here was detect that a pretty clear and straightforward policy was not being applied as it should have. It's troubling to see a spending policy ignored, and it's good that we now have a tool to detect that.

Anonymous said...

That web site doesn't work, and I can't find GASP on the Hamilton County web site. Where is it?

Quim said...

The link still isn't working.
You guys could probably save some cash moving to open source technologies.

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