Monday, May 11, 2009

Moving Forward on Transparency, Ethics: UPDATE

Today's meeting brought forward actions steps on two important principles we are bringing to County government: transparency and ethics.

1. On transparency, today we will go live on our updated approach to the Government Accountability in Spending Program (GASP), introduced last year by now-Judge Dewine, and supported unanimously by the Board in 2008. Previously, the approach only allowed citizens to examine the spending within County Administration/Commissioner departments--which does not make up the majority of the County's spending.

The new version launching today allows us to examine ALL County spending, across all departments. It also has an easy search function allowing citizens to search by category and department. We also have taken steps to ensure that there are no privacy risks in this effort at transparency (unfortunately, such a breach occurred in the roll-out of the first version), and that the program can be implemented in real-time, and at minimal cost.

UPDATE: It is now up and running. Search away by clicking here. And if you find questionable spending, etc., let us know. This is all about transparency, and empowering citizens.

UPDATE: Here's an Enquirer story on this. From the comments, it looks like a lot of people are already looking through the spending.

2. On ethics, we have finalized and will distribute a County manual on ethics and County government. This manual is a resource clarifying for all employees and citizens the laws and rules around permissible and impermissible political involvement of employees, the law against nepotism, our policy against double-dipping, and all sorts of other guidelines to ensure County ethics are first-rate.

This work is critical--to ensure county employees are always doing the right thing, to ensure that decisions by all levels of employees are always made on the merits, and not other influences, and that employees are hired and promoted based on the quality of their work for the taxpayers, and not other, unrelated issues.

Both employees, and citizens, will benefit from a full knowledge of our laws, rules and policies around different ethics issues. And County government performs at its best when these rules are adhered to 100%.

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