Local government payroll information and purchase orders will soon be available on the City’s open data portal.
Mayor Jim Gray announced today that Lexington has been selected to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ “What Works Cities” - one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and information in the public sector.
“An important part of running government efficiently is transparency,” Gray said. “The public has the right to see how their tax dollars are being spent, and we want to make it easier for citizens to track local government personnel expenses and contracts. Working with What Works Cities, we’re putting the City’s checkbook online,” Gray said.
Bloomberg invited 13 cities, including Lexington, to work with What Works Cities by committing to enhance their use of data and evidence to improve city services, inform local decision making and engage residents. Along with Anchorage, Alaska; Bellevue, Washington; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Denton, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Independence, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Saint Paul, Minnesota; San Jose, California; San Francisco, California; Tacoma, Washington and Waco, Texas, the City of Lexington will receive support from world class experts to address local issues, including data transparency and public engagement.
“Lexington already has a strong commitment to open government, and that started with making a host of geographic and mapping data publicly available online,” said Lexington Chief Information Officer Aldona Valicenti. “This partnership with What Works Cities will allow us to continue that commitment and enhance transparency by adding new data sets to the City’s website.”
What Works Cities collaborates with participating municipalities to review their current use of data and evidence, understand where they are utilizing best practices and identify areas for improvement. Through its expert partners, What Works Cities will help Lexington expand its use of data and evidence by making more public data easily accessible through the City’s website, www.lexingtonky.gov. Employee payroll and purchase orders are expected to be available by the end of the first quarter of 2016, and will be updated quarterly. The data files will be posted as downloadable spreadsheets.
Launched in April 2015, the $42 million Bloomberg initiative is already providing support to City Halls in eight cities, and will admit up to 100 cities on a rolling basis through 2017.
The consortium of leading organizations that has been assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide a program of support includes Results for America; the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University; the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School; Sunlight Foundation; and The Behavioral Insights Team.
“Cities around the country are looking to use data more effectively, and the new What Works cities range from Alaska to the East Coast. They understand that data is a tool that every city can use to improve public services, and our What Works Cities initiative will help them do just that,” said Michael R. Bloomberg.
With the addition of the 13 new cities to the program, What Works Cities is now working in 21 cities in 15 states. The cities are home to over 8 million Americans. The annual budgets of those cities exceed $31 billion, combined.
Bloomberg Philanthropies named the first eight cities in August 2015. Since then, these cities have made substantial progress by passing open data policies, launching performance management programs, and undertaking new efforts to evaluate programs and manage contracts more effectively.
To receive updates on the What Works Cities initiative, please visit www.whatworkscities.org.