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County Partnership Strengthens Government Transparency, Access to Records

Thursday, November 05, 2015
Contact: Hanna Greer, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-5848

Previously recognized for the transparency of Franklin County’s website, County Commissioners in partnership with the County Auditor are again enhancing the public’s access to information through a recent electronic record project dubbed Citizen Transparency, which makes millions of financial records available on-line in a safe, secure and easily searchable system.

Designed by Tyler Technologies, the same company that created Franklin County’s financial accounting system, Citizen Transparency has been under consideration and design for the past twelve months and was approved by the Commissioners in April 2015. Today, the Commissioners and County Auditor unveiled the new system - available at , providing residents and any member of the public with immediate access to current information and historical data on the County’s revenues and expenditures, including payroll.

Interested parties can search the records by vendor name, budgetary category (such as Materials and Services, Maintenance and Repairs, Capital Outlays, and more), employee name or government area, and export all of the data into an Excel spreadsheet.

Financial data from 34 agencies and offices is available via the system including information from the County’s largest social service agency – Job and Family Services, as well as the County Sheriff, Treasurer and Recorder’s offices, and the Court of Common Pleas, Board of Developmental Disabilities and Children Services to name a few.

The system will cost the County $17,500 annually. In 2015, Franklin County paid $22,000 which included a one-time set up fee of $4,500.

“From our ethics policy and financial disclosures made by Commissioners and top-level staff, to the seriousness with which Franklin County responds to requests for public records, to the new Citizen Transparency project, Franklin County is committed to maintaining the public’s confidence that county government is conducted in a fair and open manner,” said Commissioner and Board President Marilyn Brown.

“Franklin County strives to develop best practices and innovate change that benefits the community. Along with our actions to make more information easily accessible, we also sought to ensure that it remained accurate and secure,” said Commissioner John O’Grady, Chair of the Franklin County Records Commission.

“Public records are at the core of our American democracy. Having served as the Ohio State Bar President’s representative on the Ohio Attorney General’s Open Government Task Force, transparency has been a career focal point of mine,” said Commissioner Paula Brooks. “All of us are tax payers in one way or another. Knowing what our public checkbook and financial statements contain assures confidence in our government, and can provide the fresh, entrepreneurial ideas that lead to even greater efficiency! “

“The new website gives residents the power of information right at their fingertips to know exactly what Franklin County is doing with their tax dollars right down to the cent,” Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo said. “This type of transparency allows people to hold us accountable, now more than ever, if government is not using their money wisely.”

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