Cleveland.com reported this week that Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has been traveling the state (on your dime) promoting his Open Checkbook initiative, which aims to put government spending records online. Despite promises from Mandel to update the data monthly, all of the data is over a year out-of-date.
Unfortunately, compared to the rest of the data available on Mandel’s website, the Checkbook data is actually some of the most up-to-date.
Mandel introduced his “Transparency Project” initiative shortly after taking office. The initial roll-out was a complete disaster in both technical and self-promotional terms. He not only “accidentally” excluded the salaries of many of his own highly-paid staffers, but he also misstated the salaries of many public employees including himself.
Mandel blamed the problems on flawed state employee data he received from the Buckeye Institute, a Republican “think-tank.” That data has since been replaced with a more reliable and up-to-date source, and is currently available on the treasurer’s website as of 2014. But links to data about federal, local and higher education salaries still link back directly to the Buckeye Institute’s website.
In some cases this data is five years old.
In 2012 Plunderbund sued Josh Mandel for refusing to turn over public records. His office was forced to pay our attorney and to turn over all of the records we requested.
Things don’t seem to have changed much around there since.