Treasurer Josh Mandel Celebrates National Sunshine Week
Press Release - Ohio Treasurer's Office
COLUMBUS – Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel is proud to celebrate National Sunshine Week, an annual initiative launched by the American Society of News Editors designed to raise awareness about the importance of freedom of information and highlight open and transparent government.
A dedicated proponent of open government, Treasurer Mandel launched the Treasurer’s Transparency Project in 2011 in an effort to increase transparency across Ohio and make government more accountable to the people.
“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.”
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 $644 billion in spending over the past ten years, including more than 173 million transactions. OhioCheckbook.com earned Ohio back-to-back number one rankings in the country for government spending transparency by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. For two consecutive 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. Since that invitation, over 1,340 local governments and schools have partnered with the Treasurer’s office to post their spending online. To date, these local transparency sites represent over 230 million individual transactions totaling more than $94 billion in local expenditure information.
• OhioCheckbook.com: Public Pension Funds – In September 2016, Treasurer Mandel expanded OhioCheckbook.com to include Ohio’s five statewide public pension funds. With this historic announcement, Ohio became the first state in the country to have all statewide public pension funds’ expenditures online.
• OhioCheckbook.com: Public Universities – At the invitation of Treasurer Mandel, Bowling Green State University, Central State University, Ohio University and the Central Ohio Technical College posted their checkbooks online at OhioCheckbook.com. This occasion marked the first time in Ohio history taxpayers are able to follow their money at the university level.
• 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: In August 2016, Treasurer Mandel and Ohio Auditor Dave Yost announced a partnership between OhioCheckbook.com and the Auditor’s Uniform Accounting Network (UAN) that makes it even easier for over half of Ohio’s local governments 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 an early champion of open government. Participants in National Sunshine Week include news media, nonprofits, schools, governments and other civic groups.
For more information visit www.OhioTreasurer.gov.