Green River Star -

Letter: Office dragging its feet on records

 


Dear Editor,

The editorial page of the June 27 issue was quite interesting. Adjacent columns addressed an issue from two viewpoints. “Open the state checkbook” by Adam Andrzejewski of openthebooks.com pointed out the need to have accurate and timely financial records. He also correctly pointed out that these records are being “slow-walked” by the State Auditor Cynthia Cloud and her deputy, Sandy Urbanek. That the office charged $8,000 for what should be public records borders on outrageous. Their campaign that got them elected was based on transparency and openness. I suppose they’re counting on the voters forgetting. This is a gentle reminder.

State Auditor Cynthia Cloud’s article, “Bringing transparency to Wyo.” was even more interesting in that she has the reins of power in this office. She began by saying that “It is exciting to see newspapers and others- inside and outside the State of Wyoming- talking about spending transparency.”

Why are they still asking? She touts she can put some of Wyoming’s checkbook online at sao.wyo.gov but not all of it. Why? Well, she blames the (Republican) legislature for not funding the transparency initiative. The information she does provide is a report, but does not go back even a year. And you have to know the vendor name or something close to it. Then it gives vague information that would have to be cross-referenced (what is ‘Type’ ‘EFT’ and what is ‘Agency’ ‘006’?) and provides no tools for cross referencing.

In my last 15 or 20 years working, one of my primary functions was to provide reports to my fellow workers that were built from data retrieved from a relational database (Oracle R12). From my experience, I can tell you that I would have been sent back to my office to re-write a report like the one her department provided. I know that these things aren’t a two-day job, but four or more years is purposeful foot-dragging. I suspect we can expect both Republicans running for this office to follow suit with Ms. Cloud’s slow-talking as well.

In a June 7 press release, Jeff Dockter, the Democratic candidate for state auditor said “If the legislature won’t provide funding, then there are other ways.”

For instance, Jeff would reach out the computer science department at the University of Wyoming and our community colleges to turn this into an open source development project where students can get hands on coding and development experience.”

Jeff Dockter’s plan represents an action plan to put Wyoming’s checkbook online, whether the Legislature approves funding or not.

If you choose a Republican for this office in the 2018 election, you’re likely to feel like Charlie Brown kicking the ball held by Lucy. And you’ll spend another four years waiting for access to Wyoming’s checkbook.

Mike Masterson

Green River

 

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