Treasurer Josh Mandel Announces Partnerships with Mahoning Valley Local Governments and Schools to Post Checkbooks on OhioCheckbook.com
Momentum Grows for Statewide Government Transparency with Over 390 Local Government and School Districts Partnering with OhioCheckbook.com
Press Release - Ohio Treasurer's Office
YOUNGSTOWN – Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel stood today with Mahoning and Trumbull County officials and announced partnerships with the Ohio Treasurer’s office and Youngstown City Schools, Mathews Local Schools, Austintown Township, Howland Township, Liberty Township, Milton Township and Bazetta Township to post their checkbooks on 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.
Treasurer Mandel was joined at today’s announcement by Youngstown City Schools Treasurer James Reinhard, Austintown Township Trustee Laura Wolfe and Milton Township Trustees Russ Weimer and Dave Tomaino.
In Mahoning County, Youngstown City Schools is the second school district to partner with OhioCheckbook.com, and Austintown Township and Milton Township are the fifth and sixth townships in Mahoning County to partner with the Treasurer’s office to post their spending online.
In Trumbull County, Mathews Local Schools is the second school district to partner with OhioCheckbook.com, and Howland Township, Liberty Township and Bazetta Township are the first townships in Trumbull County to partner with OhioCheckbook.com.
“I believe the people of the Mahoning Valley 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.”
“The Youngstown City Schools are proud to be a part of this project,” said Youngstown City Schools Treasurer James Reinhard. “We agree with Treasurer Mandel that transparency is very important for public entities. We also think that the software will provide some additional internal uses to our administrative staff in terms of reporting and information sharing.”
“The Youngstown City School District and Board of Education places a high value on a transparent and open government,” said Youngstown Board of Education President Brenda Kimble. “We, therefore, wholeheartedly commit to partnering with the Ohio Treasurer's office to place the district's expenditures on the OhioCheckbook.com website and will strive to efficiently maintain this data in the future for all stakeholders to review.”
On April 7th, 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 November 30, 2015 there have been more than 396,000 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.