Our Plan for Transparency and Accountability

TransparencyGraphic.jpg

With new allegations surrounding Delaware County Councilman Dave White and how much money his company has made on the backs of taxpayers, Democratic candidates for County Council Kevin Madden and Brian Zidek and Democratic candidate for Controller Joanne Phillips unveiled a transparency platform to prevent politicians from secretly lining their pockets with taxpayer money.

Building Transparency and County Government Accountability

Voters deserve to know how well Delaware County government is performing in managing taxpayer funds and using county resources. However, the County refuses to publish anything more than a cursory overview of its finances. County Council candidates Kevin Madden and Brian Zidek and Controller candidate Joanne Phillips would provide voters with the complete landscape of budgets, reports, audits, and pending proposals — before and after votes — so citizens know how much of their tax dollars are spent in each department and for every program, contractor, and subcontractor.

Together, Kevin Madden, Brian Zidek and Joanne Phillips will take steps to:

Account for Taxpayer Money.

  • Allow voters unencumbered, anonymous and complete access to county budget information online, as well as to other government data, reports and disclosures, no longer forcing voters to file Right-to-Know requests and pay hundreds of dollars to obtain information that other counties provide for free.

  • Create a hotline where public employees and citizens can anonymously report county government waste, fraud, and abuse.

  • Record and livestream all public meetings and votes, posting the recordings online within five business days and maintain such records online for five years.

  • Review and revise the accountability standards for spending public money in all county departments, and publish these revised standards online.

  • Initiate a review of expenditures by all major departments, including all departments that have been identified as having lax and insufficient record-keeping practices.

  • Publish online in an easy-to-access database all invoices for any company or other entity (including non-profits AND subcontractors) in excess of $5,000 over the previous twelve months (directly or indirectly).

Publish All Public Business Contracts and Require Contractors to Disclose All Subcontractors.

In Delaware County, it is incredibly difficult to obtain basic information about county budgeting, operations and contracts. While some documents and information are presently available, they are often cumbersome to obtain and often at excessive costs to citizens, requiring a visit to agency offices to collect information or to submit Right-to-Know requests and wait up to 30 days for an answer. The information when received is often presented in a confusing or overly generalized manner.  

Technology has long existed to house all of this information online in easily searchable databases. Zidek, Madden, and Phillips would:

  • Prior to a vote, require the disclosure and publishing online of every Request for Proposals (“RFP”) and the corresponding contractor proposals. Each contract must have provisions for the disclosure of the name and contact information of any subcontractor to be hired and the relevant disclosure information for each.

  • Require the disclosure and publishing online of the appropriate details of every contract the County awards to any entity for any amount in an easily searchable online database.

  • Require and publish online a performance report on all contracts entered into by County Council.  

  • Set triggers for contracts to be reviewed if they go over budget, including contingencies, by more than 15%.

  • Revise County contracting procedures to require contractors and subcontractors doing business with the County to comply with the relevant provisions of a reformed ethics code as a condition of the contract.

  • Retool the Right to Know office tasked with collecting and responding to all public information requests by requiring fulfillment of all requests at the earliest opportunity, and to provide the resources to make this possible. Establish higher standards for justifying delays beyond the 5-day statutory deadline currently in place to insure that requests that can easily be filled are not delayed unnecessarily. Publish all appropriate documents online to alleviate backlogs and delays.

  • Publish and promote RFPs to an established list of citizens interested in doing business with the county.

Publish annually a scorecard for each department grading them on how closely they adhered to their budgets to provide full transparency of Delaware County agency metrics, performance and reforms.

  • Disclose to the public, on a rolling basis, the steps the county is taking in response to concerns raised in audits.

  • Publish the results of annual performance assessments with a Delaware County Performance Scorecard, incorporating a “letter grade” to judge each department and agency’s performance.

  • Publish online the raw data and metrics being used to judge performance to encourage independent review of county agency and department performance.

Launch an Open Data Initiative to Engage Constituents, Create Economic Opportunities, and Develop Innovative Policy Solutions.

“Open Data” refers to data in a format that can be understood by a computer and used freely by anyone. By releasing county data, it increases the ability for researchers, businesses and citizens to find innovative solutions to improve public and private services.

  • Prioritize and coordinate data development and investment efforts across the County to maximize efficiency and cost-effectiveness and enhance information-sharing and technology compatibility through standardization.

  • Establish IT data management and development policy frameworks that include: policies, processes, and standards that adhere to commonly-accepted principles for, among other things, data governance, data development, and the quality, sourcing, use, accessibility, content, ownership and licensing of open data.