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County Comptroller's 'Project Sunshine' marks first year

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Sunshine Week is a nationwide initiative to educate the public about the importance of government transparency and freedom of information. Participants in Sunshine Week include media organizations, libraries, civic groups, nonprofits and schools; individuals are also encouraged to take part. During this week, everyone is encouraged to engage in public discussion about the importance of open government through public forums, news articles, web pages and blogs and public service announcements. For more on Sunshine Week, visit sunshineweek.org.

— It’s been one year since the county comptroller’s office began releasing documents on its website for “Project Sunshine.”

The documents — new hire lists, claims for costs in the county and travel requests by county employees — are posted on the website of Comptroller Bob Antonacci on a regular basis, he said.

“It’s a real-time sampling of this data,” he said. “This is a way of letting the public know where the money is going.”

Antonacci says launching project sunshine was the best option, in order to share information with the Onondaga County residents.

“This is the government closest to the people and the government that has the best access to what the county is doing,” he said. “We need to make it as easy as possible for the taxpayers to have access to this information.”

The three areas are diverse and provide a sampling of what’s happening in county government. The claims section shows the payment made on county projects or within county departments. Antonacci’s office compiles a list of some of the bigger or more interesting items from county government to post online.

New hires by the county, and the department in which they will work, are also posted online. County employees’ travel requests and vouchers are also posted, to showcase how much is spent on travel each year by county employees.

“We figure maybe a department will travel less or spend less money if they have scrutiny online,” Antonacci said.

Antonacci’s website also provides access to numerous other documents, including recent financial analyses of potential dissolutions within the county, such as the village of Camillus.

“We try to put up what we think is important,” he said. “We provide a barometer of the facts and let the taxpayers make their own conclusions.”

Project Sunshine and Antonacci’s office’s other projects are available on the county comptroller’s website, ongov.net/comptroller/index.html.

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