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Austin, Texas

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Austin is the capital city of Texas. It is located in Travis County.

Elected officials

City council

The Austin Bulldog reported in March 2011 that city council members violated the state public information act by turning over some, but not all, of their emails as requested, and also failed to turn over emails, text messages and instant messages regarding public business that public employees sent on privately owned accounts and devices. In addition, turned-over emails indicated that council members discussed using online chat messengers to communicate privately during open meetings.[1]

Mayor

The mayor of Austin is Lee Leffingwell.[2]

Public pensions

See also: Texas public pensions

Sixteen police officers retired from the department in 2010, only to return as civilian workers. This allowed them to double dip and collect more than $100,000 in pensions and salary pay.[3]

Stimulus funds

Austin Energy received one of the worst performance grades for its weatherization program, which was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.[4]

Lobbying

See also: Texas government sector lobbying

Austin reported $140,000 spent lobbying in 2011.[5]

Austin pays membership dues to the Texas Municipal League, a government sector lobbying association.

Website evaluation

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Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials P
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Administrative Officials P
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Permits, zoning
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying P
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Public Records P
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Local Taxes
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Elected officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address and phone number.[2]
  • Administrative officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided, including a mailing address and phone number.[6]
  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 12 years.[7]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 1998 are available.[8]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived back to 1869.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 10 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Meeting video or podcasts are available.[9]
  • Public records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by the Communications and Public Information Office. This office provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
    • A public records form is provided by the Communications and Public Information Office.
    • Requests are able to be submitted online.[10]
  • Names, contact information and responsibilities of the ethics review board members are published.[11]
  • Campaign Finance Reports are published.[12]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[13][14]
  • Lobbyists' names are published.[15]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[16][17]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[18]

The bad

  • Administrative officials
    • Personalized email addresses are not listed for elected officials. Instead, an email form is provided in some cases.[19]
  • Elected officials
    • Personalized email addresses are not listed for elected officials. Instead, an email form is provided.[2]
  • Public records
    • A fee schedule for documents is not provided.[20]
  • Lobbying
    • Costs associated with lobbyists and memberships to government sector lobbying associations are not included.

External links

References