Indiana Government Aims to Improve Transparency

Jul 21, 2014

The governor’s office has unveiled a new website aiming to improve transparency and accountability in state government. The site was built to be a  one-stop shop for Hoosiers keeping tabs on state agencies’ performance.

The state’s previous transparency portal earned Indiana the title of most transparent state government  site by the U-S Public Interest Research Group, a consumer watchdog organization. Indiana Chief Information Officer Paul Baltzell says the new website brings together information on the financial  health of the state from a variety of different sources and tracks the governor’s primary goals, what he calls his Roadmap. 

He says the site also allows Hoosiers to follow the performance of state agencies, in  a user-friendly way, through what’s called key performance indicators.

“You’re going to see the good, the bad, and the ugly," says Baltzell. "So if there is a performance area that we’re  missing, we obviously as an agency should dig deeper, right, as to what’s causing that problem. But  we want to be transparent and kind of show where we’re at, so all the KPIs we’re measured on will be  published up there.” 

But Bloomington Democratic Representative Matt Pierce says the problem is that while the state does  well at the basics of transparency, digging deeper is still an issue. He says the legislature needs to step  up its oversight.

“Because I think every administration would like to be able to operate in a way where they’re not having  every single thing they do scrutinized," says Pierce, "but in reality that’s how you get the best government – you need  to everybody in there seeing exactly what you’re doing.” 

Pierce notes that Republicans in the legislature have rebuffed attempts to create more transparency  with INDOT land purchases and Indiana Economic Development Corporation job commitment deals.