More transparency with online checkbooks


Leesburg, Madison Township join Mandel program

The Times-Gazette



Pictured Tuesday from left are: Jamie Barker, public affairs liaison for Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel; Leesburg council President Richard Tolle; and Leesburg Treasurer Tracy Evans.


Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced on Tuesday the launch of the Village of Leesburg and Madison Township’s online checkbooks on OhioCheckbook.com.

In December 2014, 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, according to a press release from Mandel’s office. OhioCheckbook.com recently earned Ohio the number one government transparency ranking in the country for a second year in a row.

The Ohio treasurer’s office was joined at Tuesday’s announcement by Leesburg Treasurer Tracy Evans and Council President Richard Tolle.

Leesburg is the first village in Highland County to post its spending on OhioCheckbook.com, and Madison Township is the first township in Highland County to post its spending on OhioCheckbook.com.

In September 2015, the City of Hillsboro published its local OhioCheckbook.com site, meaning that Leesburg and Madison Township are the second and third local governments in Highland County to post their spending on OhioCheckbook.com.

Leesburg’s online checkbook includes over 7,000 individual transactions that represent more than $3.9 million of total spending over the past two three years.

Madison Township’s online checkbook includes over 2, 000 individual transactions that represent more than $570,000 of total spending over the past two four years.

“I believe the people of Highland County have a right to know how their tax money is being spent, and I applaud local leaders here for partnering with my office to post the finances on OhioCheckbook.com,” said Mandel. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable.”

“The Village of Leesburg is pleased to partner with Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s office to post our finances online for taxpayers to view at no cost to them,” said treasurer Tracy Evans. “This cutting edge transparency tool is both free and easy to use. The Village of Leesburg is proud of the way we maintain the frugal spending of tax payer’s dollars.”

“I want to commend local government leaders in Highland County for their commitment to financial transparency,” said Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger. “By joining OhioCheckbook.com, citizens in the area can see how taxpayer funds are being utilized, which encourages accountability and clarity in our local government offices.”

“I applaud the Village of Leesburg and Madison Township for participating in OhioCheckbook.com,” said State Senator Bob Peterson. “It is important for taxpayers to see how their tax dollars are being spent in an easy and readily available way.”

On April 7, 2015, 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 onOhioCheckbook.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.

OhioCheckbook.com was launched on Dec. 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 support from newspapers and groups across the state and, as of Sept. 16, 2016, there have been more than 626,000 total searches on the site.

OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $540 billion in spending over the past eight years, including more than 148 million transactions.

In March 2015, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) released their annual “Following the Money 2015” report and 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 Mandel’s release ofOhioCheckbook.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.

In April 2016, U.S. PIRG announced that Mandel earned Ohio the number one government transparency ranking in the country for the second consecutive year. Due to the launch ofOhioCheckbook.com, Ohio again received the highest perfect score of 100 points this year – marking the second time in two years Ohio received the highest possible score in the history of the U.S. PIRG transparency rankings.

The state 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 or to view a local government website, visit the Local Government option onOhioCheckbook.com or click on Leesburg.OhioCheckbook.com or MadisonTownshipHighland.OhioCheckbook.com.

Pictured Tuesday from left are: Jamie Barker, public affairs liaison for Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel; Leesburg council President Richard Tolle; and Leesburg Treasurer Tracy Evans.
http://timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_checkbook-leesburg.jpgPictured Tuesday from left are: Jamie Barker, public affairs liaison for Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel; Leesburg council President Richard Tolle; and Leesburg Treasurer Tracy Evans.
Leesburg, Madison Township join Mandel program

The Times-Gazette

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