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Luann Ridgeway: Clay County Missouri- Leading the State in Transparency

Clay County Eastern District Commissioner Luann Ridgway
Clay County Eastern District Commissioner Luann Ridgway

Former State Senator Luann Ridgeway currently serves as the Eastern District Commissioner on the Clay County, Missouri Commission. This is her August 13, 2015 newsletter. In it she discusses the new Clay County Transparency Portal that was recently launched. For more information on our Opinion Section please click here.

Allowing citizens and taxpayers easy access to how government is spending their money has always been a priority of mine.  Now, another milestone has been achieved in opening government to the citizens we serve.

Clay County has become the FIRST county in Missouri to begin participating in the Missouri Transparency Portal.

From the day of my first open meeting as a Commissioner in January 2013, I promised that Clay County would become a leader in open, transparent and accountable government.  This is a promise made and a promise kept.

Within the last week, Clay County has launched a free online Transparency Portal in conjunction with United for Missouri, which is a public interest organization devoted to government accountability.

United for Missouri and Clay County Commissioners share a common goal to provide simple means for taxpayers to have immediate and free access to government use of tax dollars. This will increase access to public information, citizen involvement and government responsiveness to taxpayer input.  United for Missouri is providing the internet access transparency tool as a free service to Clay County.

While Clay County is the first county in the State of Missouri to launch this type of tool for members of the public to access open records, it is important to note that the County has plans to expand information available on the portal.  It is anticipated that Clay County will expand the Transparency Portal to include all taxpayer-funded expenses at the county level. This information will be sorted by vendor name, category of expense and dollar amount.

I’m proud to announce that Clay County now becomes the first county in the entire state of Missouri to provide open records to the public – hassle free and cost free. The Transparency Portal is about letting the sun shine on government expenses in Clay County. Records will now be easily available and free on our website, allowing the people we serve to see how their tax dollars are spent.

While information on the portal is available through the formal means of a Sunshine Open Records request pursuant to Missouri law, such requests are often costly and bound in red tape.  The Transparency Portal provides information in a hassle free, cost free format.  Simply put, it makes information freely available 24/7 without jumping through bureaucratic hoops to obtain it.

The Clay County Transparency Portal can be accessed via the county website or this direct URL:https://www.claycountymo.gov/transparency

 

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