Open Up City Hall

Anne Mahoney requests that the city includes Open Checkbook software in the city’s software budget request.

Quincy, MA September 22, 2017

As part of the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, the IT Department has requested $1.88 million for software for the city’s e-mail communication system, desktop operating systems, software to manage the city’s urban forest and tree inventory, and asset management software for public facilities and roadway infrastructure etc...

"It is critical for the City Council to make this funding contingent on the inclusion of Open Checkbook and Open Budget to bring a long overdue level of transparency to City Hall finances.” Anne said, "I have been talking to people throughout this city, and the residents want to know where their money is going and who it is going to. What better way to reassure the citizens of Quincy that these are worthwhile projects than to let them see, easily and on their own time, exactly where their money is being spent.”

Open Checkbook provides up-to-date financial information, line by line, like your own checkbook. This online service provides accounting information, including vendor and payroll data, by linking directly to the city’s accounting software. This application provides transparent information to the community.

Open Checkbook software has been used by the state since 2011 and was adopted by some of our neighboring communities; including Boston, Braintree and Brookline. The City of Boston uses Open Budget with Open Checkbook, which provides a visual dashboard for a user-friendly experience. “You can search by department or funding source, understand priorities and even see where capital projects are being funded,” says Christopher Dwelley, Boston's Citywide Performance Manager and the lead on Boston’s financial transparency initiatives. Dwelley, who’s based in the City’s Chief Financial Officers office, is deeply involved with the City’s financial data, both on a big picture level and for day-to-day operations. This “technology helped us paint a clearer picture of how the city is allocating funds and what those funds are spent on. It also supports our goals of sharing data and helping people – not just government employees, but citizens, too -- understand what that data means.”

With Open Budget, the City of Quincy will be able to publish to a single portal and have all of the budget data there so that anyone can access it. Since the data will be public and easier to access, more stakeholders – citizens, reporters, etc… - will be able to view the same data that your government uses.

It is time for Quincy to utilize this technology for budgeting and fiscal transparency. This software makes city government more accessible to its constituents. Due to the exciting and rapid growth of Quincy, Open Checkbook has become a necessity for the city.

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