Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Kentucky’s Open Door site again rated best in the nation
Another independent taxpayer watchdog group applauds Beshear Administration’s transparency efforts
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Steve Beshear’s groundbreaking e-transparency website, Kentucky’s Open Door, has again earned recognition from a national taxpayer watchdog group for being one of the best e-transparency sites in the nation. Kentucky’s Open Door, online at www.OpenDoor.KY.gov, is an easy-to-use, searchable website with a wide range of spending information.
“I’m very proud of my administration’s efforts to make government more accountable and transparent to the public,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our continued commitment to run an open government is evident as we continue to earn national recognition for e-transparency. In these extraordinary economic times, it is more important than ever that taxpayers know how their tax dollars are being spent.”
In a report published on June 2, 2010 by The Center for Study of Responsive Law, a nonprofit organization that researches government and corporate accountability, Kentucky was recognized as a national leader for transparency in state contracts for publishing the full text of state contracts. Kentucky, Arizona and Massachusetts were all cited for elevating their efforts to “best practices.”
The report noted that, “Kentucky has made the most significant progress in online disclosure and transparency through its online portal.” This is a dramatic improvement from a similar report issued by the same organization a year ago, which said that, at that time, Kentucky did not have contracts available through the Internet.
Patrick Benton, author of the report, said “Kentucky went from a worst performer to one of the best full transparency states all in one year. This remarkable progress demonstrates the ease and speed with which all states could open their books to their citizens.”
Kentucky is a leader in its transparency efforts for the reporting of both distribution of stimulus funds and state government spending. In April 2010, Kentucky was the only state in the nation to receive an ‘A’ rating for openness in government spending in a report issued by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, making it one of the most comprehensive sites of its kind in the country.
Similar to Open Door, the Commonwealth’s stimulus spending site, Kentucky at Work, online at http://kentuckyatwork.ky.gov, received national attention in January 2009. In a report issued by Good Jobs First, a national policy resource center, Kentucky was recognized for receiving the second highest rating nationally for accountability to taxpayers.
In the spring of 2008, Gov. Beshear issued an Executive Order establishing the e-Transparency Task Force; a 14-member bipartisan panel charged with providing a more transparent, accountable state government. On Jan. 1, 2009, Kentucky’s Open Door was launched after a concerted, multi-agency effort, led by officials of the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
“While we are thrilled by the national recognition of our efforts, we are hardly going to pause to rest on these laurels,” stated Finance and Administration Secretary Jonathan Miller, who chaired the Governor’s e-Transparency Task Force. “We’ve been listening to public recommendations, and are continuing efforts to make the site even more thorough and user friendly.”
Since first being launched, the site has continued to improve. Significant upgrades included improving user-friendliness and adding significant new categories of information, such as comprehensive detail on state contracts, and up-to-date data on state employee salaries. In January 2010, Gov. Beshear and Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. announced that the state’s judicial branch would join the e-Transparency website. Open Door currently hosts information from both executive and judicial branches, and all of Kentucky’s constitutional officers.
To access The Center for Study of Responsive Law’s full report, State Government Contract Assessment 2010, go to http://csrl.org/reports/Contracts2010.pdf.