By Kane County Chronicle Editorial Board
County website sets good example
It's a good bet that several county and village officials from across northern Illinois are trolling Kane County's website this week, driven either by curiosity, envy or – perhaps – a kick in the posterior from their supervisors.
If not, they ought to be.
In stark contrast to just about everyone else throughout northern Illinois, Kane County's website – www.countyofkane.org – was given a perfect score this week in the Illinois Policy Institute's latest round of online government transparency audits.
It's not every day that governmental bodies do something to merit praise, so let's give credit where credit is due.
Consider the following:
• Only two other local governments out of 167 audited this year – the villages of Orland Park and Lombard – also received perfect scores.
• Of the 26 northern Illinois counties surveyed, 20 received failing grades (including nearby counties such as McHenry and Kendall; DeKalb squeaked by with a D-).
The Illinois Policy Institute is a nonpartisan institute that for two years has audited the websites of hundreds of Illinois' local governments.
Among the criteria in the audit's scope are the availability of contract information; salaries and benefits of elected and administrative officials; dates, times and locations of public meetings; instructions on filing Freedom of Information Act requests; budgets; financial audits; lists of expenditures and bills; contracts; lobbying information; and information on taxation.
Kane County's airtight performance is especially impressive considering the county earned a lukewarm grade of 72 out of 100 last year, then proactively sought and implemented feedback on how it could make its website more useful to constituents.
According to a county news release, the score, announced Tuesday, is "the result of an intensive effort since March by the county's Information Technologies Department to significantly improve on its original top-ranking score and set an even higher standard for public access to government documents and data."
As staunch advocates of transparency in government, we applaud the county's efforts to display a wealth of information on its site, and encourage county residents to take advantage by logging in and becoming better informed about the many ways in which county government affects your tax dollars and quality of life.
The County Board will experience substantial turnover after this fall's elections. Whatever changes in leadership are forthcoming, the quality of the county's website provides at least one solid building block for the new regime.
Read the article on the Kane County Chronicle website...