Further solidifying its new reputation as a leader in online transparency and accessibility, Supervisor Joseph Saladino announced today that the Town of Oyster Bay has been awarded a Grade A as part of the Empire Center’s SeeThroughNY Local Government Website Report Card. The Empire Center, an independent non-profit think-tank dedicated to the ideals of effective and accountable government, graded websites for New York’s 500 largest counties, municipalities, and school districts. Under an audit conducted this week, the Town nearly tripled the points earned under an audit the Town received in 2014 which resulted in an “F” grade. Most notable gains were made in categories such as public information, financial reports, revenue sources, and ease of navigation of the website.
“When I took office, I promised to restore taxpayers’ trust and instill one with the highest ethical standards along with the utmost transparency,” Supervisor Saladino stated. “Earlier this year, the Town became Reclaim NY’s standard bearer for online transparency in New York State. I am proud to have this distinction reinforced by the results announced today from the Empire Center, an independent organization who works to enhance transparency and accountability statewide.”
When the project first originated in 2014, the Empire Center, through its SeeThroughNY Report Card, sought to help local residents effectively tap the potential to access information from their local government through the internet. Local municipalities were graded on their online accessibility in different categories such as public information, budgets, audits, and revenue sources.
Upon taking office earlier this year, Supervisor Saladino enhanced online transparency and accessibility by posting the rules for contract bidding, instructions for submitting Requests For Proposals (RFP) as well as listing all current RFPs online. In addition, the website was overhauled to detail the Town’s newly restructured ethics guidelines, practices, and reporting, along with other measures such as enhanced live-streaming.
Tim Hoefer, Executive Director of the Empire Center, stated, “Oyster Bay’s upgraded website exemplifies exactly what we hoped to accomplish with our local government website report cards. Redesigned with our rubric in mind, it helps raise the bar on the level of transparency and access taxpayers should expect from those spending their tax dollars.”