Westchester County taxpayers can delve through over 2,000 contracts on a website aimed at letting them know how their money is being spent.
County Executive Rob Astorino earlier today announced a new web tool that shows whose getting county contracts and how much they’re getting paid.
It’s part of his new “Government Transparency Initiative.” Anything that’s public information under Freedom of Information laws, or FOIL, will eventually go online, the county executive said.
“Anything that’s foilable should be up on the web,” Astorino said. “It’s somewhat mundane, but it’s government at work.”
Democrats on the Board of Legislators say this idea is anything but open: It’s actually misleading because contract searches have been in operation since former County Executive Andrew Spano’s administration.
Astorino is late to the game, they say.
“For the County Executive to say that ‘now for the first time, the public will be able to view exactly where their tax dollars are going,’ is misleading,” said Legislator Judy Myers, D-Mamaroneck. “Westchester County residents should be truly dismayed by a county executive who attempts to take credit for a transparency initiative that predates his taking office, just as they should be dismayed by his taking credit for the historic 2.2 percent tax decrease in the 2011 Budget that was adopted by the Board of Legislators, even though he vetoed it.”
Legislator Sheila Marcotte, a Republican from Tuckahoe, who months ago had proposed the concept (one that had support from some Democrats, who along with Marcotte also advocated for a database of vendors) of posting contracts online was pleased with this recent push.
“Taxpayers have a right to know where the money being spent,” she said. “This is a no-brainer.”
During Monday’s press conference, Astorino went through contracts doled out by his office and the county board’s and took issue with the their efforts.
“They’ve been talking about it,” he said. “We’re doing it.”