Website Keeping Public in the Know

Public officials often make it a point to talk about how committed they are to “transparency.” They want the public to know precisely what is going on in government, they insist.

Some are serious about that. Too many are not.

Fortunately for West Virginians, among those who are truly committed to giving the public access is state Auditor J.B. McCuskey.

McCuskey’s office on Monday unveiled a “new transparency website,” www.wvsao.gov. Within the site is the wvCheckbook tab, which will provide near real-time details on where state government gets its money and how it spends the funds.

In fairness to McCuskey’s predecessor, Glen B. Gainer III, improving public access to financial transactions has been an ongoing process. As recently as 2014, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group gave West Virginia just a C grade on financial transparency. By 2016, that had gone up to a B.

McCuskey’s improvements may well get us an A next time around, in part because of the auditor’s decision to work with the OpenGov organization, which is used to augment financial transparency in 48 states.

A quick test-drive of the wvCheckbook function indicated it is easy to use, and chock-full of information, both in big-picture items such as agency spending and specifics such as how the money was used.

Take a look at it. We think you’ll be impressed by the site’s functionality — and McCuskey’s commitment to keeping West Virginians in the know.

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