Allegheny County controller: Authorities should be more transparent

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Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is calling on area authorities to increase transparency, sending a letter to their executive directors requesting they post information online and make meetings more accessible.

“Over the past year I have received numerous complaints from taxpayers concerning the lack of accessibility to information and the seemingly opaque and distant operations of our local authorities,” Ms. Wagner wrote in the letter. “These complaints are unfortunately consistent with my own personal experience as a county elected official, a former state legislator and a lifetime county resident.”

According to Ms. Wagner’s review, only two of the county’s 11 independent authorities have posted all financial information online as required by the county’s administrative code, including budget line items, financial statements and personnel costs.

She’s asking all authorities to post the information within one month.

Ms. Wagner also believes too many authorities are conducting business out of the public’s eye. To that end. she’s asking boards to hold meetings at central locations, broadcast the meetings online and curtail the use of executive sessions to discuss authority issues.

“By bringing more sunlight to your operations, the public can feel reassured that their tax dollars are being spent wisely,” she wrote in the letter.

Andrew McGill: or 412-263-1497. First Published October 23, 2013 12:54 PM

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