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City of Rockford fails Illinois Policy Institute online transparency audit

December 19, 2013

Online Staff Report

With the constant advancements of the digital age, keeping citizens informed about their local and state government’s actions has never been easier. However, recent analysis by the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) found Rockford, along with 11 other city governments, failed an online audit for government transparency.

This analysis takes a close look at how much and what type of information is readily available to the public on local government websites. Unfortunately, the analysis found many city-level government websites are missing vital community information, such as public meeting schedules, government employee salaries and tax rates, and some are even in violation of state transparency laws. Cities that failed the audit include Rockford, Chicago, Des Plaines, Bolingbrook, Cicero and Champaign, among others. The three cities of Evanston, Skokie and Orland Park received perfect scores in the audit,

With Illinois’ history of corruption, no one in this state should be resisting improving transparency efforts,” said Brian Costin, director of government reform at the IPI. “Unfortunately, places with a history for public corruption, such as Rockford, are failing when it comes to enacting online transparency best practices. If elected officials are serious about preventing corruption from happening, they should be confident in proactively sharing basic spending information with the public as a fraud prevention measure.”

Transparency scores were based on the Institute’s 10-Point Transparency Checklist. Following are some key findings from the special report:

Rockford scored 55.3 out of 100 possible points;

Chicago scored 52.1 out of 100 possible points;

Springfield scored 54.9 out of 100 possible points;

Decatur scored 42.7 out of 100 possible points;

Skokie scored 100 out of 100 possible points; and

Peoria scored 92.2 out of 100 possible points

Complete coverage of the largest 25 municipal governments is available online at http://illinoispolicy.org/illinois-largest-cities-show-wide-disparity-in-online-transparency-chicago-fails/.

Posted Dec. 19, 2013

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