Village Responds to Transparency Audit, Plans Website Information Updates
In the next month the Village of Glen Ellyn plans to add information on salaries and payments to its website in the hopes of raising its rating with the Illinois Policy Institute.
The Village of Glen Ellyn responded Tuesday to a recent audit, which gave the village a failing grade for online transparency.
Last week, the Illinois Policy Institute released the results of its audit, which among a number of criteria, looked at how much information was readily available on municipal entities websites. The village was one of the communities given a failing grade. Glenbard District 87 was another local entity to receive a failing grade.
Dubbed “The Local Transparency Project,” the grades were based on the availability to the public of vital community information such as public meeting schedules, government employee salaries and tax rates. Since the institute launched the project in February 2010, more than 160 government entities were graded.
Glen Ellyn Patch reported last week that the village said it was in the process of planning a website update and that it has worked over the years to be transparent.
Tuesday, the village responded and highlighted the various ways in which it has worked to be transparent and the new initiatives it has undertaken since 2009 in that vein.
“The village believes that convenient access to this information not only provides insight as to how and why local government decisions are made, but increases community participation, a critical component of local government transparency,” said Village President Mark Pfefferman in a news release.
The Village will be considering improvements to its website, including a new website design and providing increased information on a variety of topics, according to the village.
“Prior to receiving the results of the Institute’s study, the Village had already begun to consider a website redesign to better meet the needs of its residents, businesses and visitors,” Village Manager Mark Franz said in the news release. “A new website will not only reorganize the information available on the website to improve navigation and searchability, but will also improve upon critical transparency efforts noted in the study.”
While the study indicated that the village has been providing key information online, including the annual village budget and financial audit, access to public records and a variety of meeting information, improvements could be made to provide additional financial and employee compensation information, the village said.
In the next month the Village of Glen Ellyn plans to:
- Add information on village memberships
- Add information on employee compensation
- Provide individual and yearly expenditures, and taxes and fees
The additional information is expected to raise the village’s rating well above acceptable levels, the village said.
“We have come a long way with increasing the transparency of Village government. We have a short way to go,” Pfefferman said.
Over the last few years, the Village of Glen Ellyn said it has:
- Doubled the number of village board workshops and televised them in addition to televising all village board meetings
- Posted complete village board agendas, packets, minutes and videos at www.glenellyn.org
- Sent weekly electronic newsletters
- Embraced social media and created a Facebook page for instant access to village happenings
- Launched “Survey Corner,” providing residents the opportunity to comment on village topics
- Offered a mobile website for convenient mobile access
- Hosted Coffee with the Cops, Meet Mayor Mark, State of the Village and other opportunities for direct public participation and informal interaction
- Increased the number of volunteer commissioners serving the village government by 20 percent
- Established and published email addresses for the village board and key Village positions
- Shared detailed quarterly management reports with all commissioners and posted them at www.glenellyn.org
- Established a finance commission to add expertise, public perspective and transparency to village finances
- Posted the village’s accounts payable register in its entirety
What do you think? Is the village transparent or does it need to do more? Share your thoughts in comments.