RTK – Belknap County Vendor Lists

by Skip

 

Doug and Tom Tardif filed a Right To Know request with the Belknap County Commission to obtain the  County’s  Vendor Lists for  Fiscal 2007 and 2008 (year to date).  Click on them  to see them or right-click to download them.

                 

Fiscal Year 2007                                Fiscal Year 2008

This is information that should be on their website

As you can see, it is not.  If you would like this information in searchable format (i.e., a spreadsheet), just email me!

The email and the attached Letter asking the Belknap County Commission to update their website to have this information on it can be seen after the jump (and yes, the hardcopy is on its way to them!) 

Please also see the post at GilfordGOP.org where it lists why the Letter was sent (and an abstract from the SunShine Review openess / transparency metrics are listed there are also listed here after the jump).

Here is the email that was sent to the Belknap County Commission Chair, Mr. Daigneault. 

Subject: Request from the Gilford Town Republican Committee – your web site for a more
            transparent government.

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 00:01:38-0400
From:    Skip Murphy <Skip@GraniteGrok.com>
Reply-To:    Skip@GraniteGrok.com
To:    daigneault@metrocast.net 

Good evening,

Please find attached a letter from the Gilford Town Republican Committee asking that the Belknap County Commissioners provide a much more open and transparent environment relative to information that Belknap County Taxpayers and Residents can access on the County website.  There is little there for content; we believe it can be much better!

More open and transparent government is not just a Republican theme – it is just plain good government.  We ask that you review your website and judge it according to the 10 point metric as outlined by the SunshineReview.org site; doing so would yield a more open and useful site and better service to your County stakeholders.

Kindest Regards,

Skip Murphy
Gilford
Gilford Town Republican Committee, Chair

 

The following is the actual Letter asking that the Commission update their website:

Date:     4/17/08
From:    Skip Murphy
            Gilford Town Republican Committee, Chair
To:        Belknap County Comissioners

Subject:    For a more open and transparent SAU District

Dear Philip Daigneault, Belknap County Commission, Chair

Compared to many other governmental bodies, the Belknap County Commission website does little to further a more open and transparent access to County information – information that has been paid for by the taxpayers.  There is little in the way of real information on the County’s website compared to other governmental websites provide (past some contact information). Therefore:

Gilford Republican Committee calls on Belknap County Commissioners to update their website in an effort to further promote transparency and openness.

When it comes to the dollars that fund the County and its activities, taxpayers are often forced to wait for an audit to know how much money was spent and whether it’s all accounted for or file Right To Know requests. Thus, the first step to transparency is simply posting the town or agency’s check register online. Right away, any taxpayer can look and see every dollar spent and to whom it was paid. A further step would be to make available a downloadable version that could be used for analysis (e.g., spreadsheets).

Additionally, in order to track the actions and deliberations of government bodies, citizens must be allowed access to all meeting notices, minutes, and other pertinent information. Currently, this often involves a trip to your agency’s office during business hours; difficult for those who work during those same hours. The simplest solution is to automatically place all such items online for all to see.  The most reasonable place to do this is on the County website, which in our eyes, severely under serves its residents.  This would make many Right To Know requests unneeded and irrelevant.
 
“The Gilford Republican Committee, believing that transparency and openness are among the most important principles of our Party, is calling on the Belknap County Commissioners to update the their  website in order to allow open access to the recent past and current budget detail, check registers /  manifests, meeting notices, agendas, minutes, and any other information necessary to promote an ever-growing amount of transparency and access for all. Again, given the current state of the County website ranked against other governmental sites, we believe that much, much more can be done. We further ask that this be accomplished as soon as possible. Given the significant resources available within the County, and the available and existing technologies, we believe this goal is easily attainable and will be appreciated by a significant number of taxpayers and stakeholders.”

Kindest Regards,

Skip Murphy
Gilford
524-4794
Gilford Town Republican Committee, Chair

Below are the transparency metrics that the Sunshine Review believes should be mandatory of all goverenmental websites:

  • Budget: The website should include the current budget. Bonus points if the website shows the budgets for previous years, and a graph showing increases or decreases over time to help citizens evaluate and understand trends in local government spending.
  • Meeting minutes: The website should include notices about public meetings of its governing board, and minutes of past meetings.
  • Meeting agendas: The website should include agendas for upcoming meetings, and minutes of past meetings.
  • Vendor contracts: The website should include copies of all vendor contracts for amounts that exceed $25,000.

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  • Checkbook Register: A copy of the checkbook register for the agency.
    • Election information: The website should include information about elections for its governing board, including information about how candidates gain access to the ballot, when elections are held, and any other laws governing municipal elections.
    • Assets: The website should show the latest audited statement of assets owned by the municipality and liabilities against those assets.

    In addition, here is the "plank" from the NH GOP Party Platform that spawned this idea:

    Promoting a limited government that is open, responsive and fully accountable to and in touch with its citizens without interfering in their personal, daily lives.

     

     

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