Illinois Policy Institute rolled out a website called www.IllinoisOpenGov.org that should provide some interesting material for investigative citizen journalists in the coming days. Just for fun, we went into the "payroll" section of the new online data base and entered the name "Smith" and pulled up all the "Smiths" getting a check from Illinois -- or should we say Illinois taxpayers?
It was fascinating to see how many different pensions various retirees are getting -- or they just happened to have the same name, have worked in the same agency, and are drawing duplicate pensions, some equaling more than $100,000 a year. That's just after a quick glance.
There's sure to be some irate Illinois payrollees just like there were when Cook County Employees' salaries were put online -- no one likes sunshine streaming in on could-be shady activities.
Bravo, Illinois Policy Institute. Now we "inquiring minds" have something we can sink our teeth into. And cause a lot of uncomfortable-ness with. Just the way "transparency" should work. And all you would-be snoopers out there, feel free to send your finds to IllinoisReview.com. We're happy to let our readers in on the state's secrets!
From the Illinois Policy Institute:
CHICAGO – The Illinois Policy Institute has launched a new online tool allowing Illinois taxpayers an unprecedented examination of how their tax dollars are being spent by state government. The website, IllinoisOpenGov.org, provides an unbiased look into raw state government spending data collected directly from official government sources. IllinoisOpenGov.org offers a comprehensive supplement to the Illinois Accountability Portal, which lists information on state employee pay, state agency expenditures and contracts, professional licenses and corporate accountability by including the following additional information:
· Makes the details of state spending available in easy-to-use, downloadable, Excel or CSV file formats, allowing anyone to repurpose the data for their own use.
· Includes salary and benefit information for all Illinois government workers (as opposed to the state’s current site, which at this point does not include information on statewide benefits data or legislative salaries).
· Provides information on payouts to retired state employees.
· Offers a blog with highlights posted regularly from the database.
· Features a forum for public conversation and offers the option for commenting on individual expense items.
The ability of IllinoisOpenGov.org to provide clear and complete information will make it an important transparency tool. Initially, IllinoisOpenGov.org will list state employee salary, retiree pensions and vendor information; ultimately, the site will include all state spending – providing citizens and the media with a better tool to use in joining in the call for state spending decisions and government reform.
For additional information on IllinoisOpenGov.org, visit: http://www.illinoispolicy.org/news/article.asp?ArticleSource=1765
To access the Open Gov website, visit: http://www.illinoisopengov.org