Taking Maine Open Government to the Next Level
I believe that true transparency and government accountability will be achieved when every taxpayer in Maine can go online and see how government spends their hard earned tax dollars.
We’ve come along way towards true transparency at the state government level with MaineOpenGov.org (and there is MUCH more to come). We’ve done it with local school districts around the state. Now it’s time to take it to the next level – local government level.
In a series of posts on MaineFreedomForum.com over the coming weeks, you will see local government salary and spending information that has been gathered from various local municipalities across Maine. The information won’t all be standardized, like it is on MaineOpenGov.org, because towns don’t have a standard way they are required to keep their financial records.
Often times local governments have sloppy recording and reporting methods, and many have shown very little interest in cooperating with requests for public information. In the subsequent posts, you will see various forms of documents, depending on how the towns reported their information. There are PDF’s, spreadsheets, tables, and even some dot matrix printouts of city payrolls like the one in the picture above (That’s Bangor’s 2009 payroll unfurled in all it’s glory). You would think a big city like Bangor would keep that information in Excel wouldn’t you?
Some towns overcharge (they are supposed to only charge $10 an hour according to Maine’s Freedom of Access Law), some towns take months responding, while some others (a few at least) are happy to comply and do so to the letter of the law.
The goal is to one day, have every town in Maine put their salary and spending information online voluntarily. Until then, it’s our mission to gather all the public spending information we can, and get it online where taxpayers can see it and search it.
If you don’t see your town or city in one of the posts, we can fix that. Give me a shout.
Posted on Nov 11, 2010
I happened upon this site and the whole tone is nasty. Why do you imply that all gov't spending is wasteful? Why wouldn't you expect Bangor's payroll to be long....it's the 2nd largest City in ME with lots of services and expenses. What do you consider "wasteful"---- street work, city clerk and voter registers, street lights, cops, etc. It appears to be beyond your ability to actually equate expenses to worthwhile services. Just looking for the bad
Posted on Dec 04, 2010
Easy Helen, maybe that's what you're thinking.... But that's not what's being said. Clearly, the aurthur's purpose as stated is: "transparentcy, disclosure, and accountability".