Duffy Calls for Online Posting of Government Check Books, Says Might Have Prevented Dixon Theft

A press release from State Senator Dan Duffy:

Dan Duffy

Senator Duffy calls for government checkbooks to be online

Lawmaker says transparency could have prevented 53M theft from Dixon, IL

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 9, 2012) – Following allegations that a Dixon city official stole $53 million from city coffers, State Senator Dan Duffy is calling for legislation that would require local governments in Illinois to post their checkbooks online.

Senator Duffy’s bill, SB 3392, would require all local governments – including school boards, townships and municipalities – to post their checkbooks online.

The state senator said it’s possible that the alleged Dixon theft could have been flagged earlier if the public had access to this vital information.

Senator Duffy has been pursuing this transparency bill for several years.

In the past, Springfield leadership has not allowed this bill to be called in a senate committee for a hearing.

“These accusations highlight why it’s so important for Illinois to move forward on government transparency,” said Sen. Duffy, R-Lake Barrington.

“If you look at the city of Dixon’s website, there is almost no financial information available to the public.

“Without filing onerous Freedom of Information Act requests, the public had no mechanism for holding its city officials accountable or investigating the finances themselves.”

The Illinois Policy Institute supports this legislation and greater efforts by Sen. Duffy to improve the level of government transparency in Illinois.

Since 2010, the nonpartisan Institute has partnered with local citizen activists to grade governments on how much public information is available online. More than 130 government entities have been graded using the Institute’s 10-Point Transparency Checklist.

The city of Dixon received a failing grade on the [Illinois Policy] Institute’s audit, scoring only 18.1 out of 100 possible points. [Emphasis added.]

In addition to having no budget or financial information available on the city’s website, there also is no information outlining how to file a Freedom of Information Request, how much government employees are paid or tax information.

“After seeing how little public information is available on Dixon’s website, it’s no surprise that the alleged theft went under the radar for so long,” said Brian Costin, director of government reform at the Illinois Policy Institute.

“What Dixon and the entire state must do now is create a culture of transparency and accountability. This will help weed out corruption, and restore the public’s faith in local government.”


Duffy Calls for Online Posting of Government Check Books, Says Might Have Prevented Dixon Theft — 5 Comments

  1. It should also be a requirement for local governments to publish all agendas online with a brief explanation of what will be under consideration, including links to proposed ordinances and amendments.

    There are too many communities that either don’t publish their agendas (including committee agendas) online and if they do it simply says: “Amend section 4 of Chapter 10”.

  2. Hogan: Crystal Lake does this, grateful they publish in advance.

    Wished they showed the checkbook.

    Duffy gets it.

  3. Great bill Senator Duffy. Very glad that it is being co-sponsored by other excellent conservatives including Senators Lauzen, LaHood, McCarter and McCann.

  4. I’m all for this legislation.

    There would be some exceptions as some downstate school districts don’t even have a website.

    Posting checkbook registers is a step in the right direction, but you really have to go to board meetings, ask questions, and understand legislation to discover the countless slim shady tricks.

    The more people watching, and the more information they have, the better for the taxpayer.

    Chalk up the 2000-2010 decade as Government Gone Wild.

    Give them as little tax revenue as possible and watch them like a hawk.

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