Evaluation of Delaware state website

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Delaware.gov is the website for the state of Delaware.

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngC-
Budget P
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Usability
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Legislative P
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Executive P
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Ethics P
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Audits P
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Contracts
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Lobbying P
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Public records P
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Compensation N
600px-Red x.png
State agency websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

This website was reviewed on an unknown date.

The good

  • Budget
    • State online checkbook is posted.[1]
    • Budgets and the Governor’s proposed budgets are archived for at least 3 years.[2]
    • Reports regarding tax expenditures are available.[3]
    • Quarterly reports are posted.[4]
  • Legislative Public Officials
    • Contact information, including e-mails, is available for all elected officials.[5][6]
    • Party affiliation is disclosed.
    • Committee appointments are online.
    • Roll call votes are online.
  • Executive Public Officials
    • Cabinet members are listed.[7]
    • Each agency page lists the employees and most of their contact information.
  • Ethics
    • Must have an ethics commission and guidelines for ethical behavior of officials.[8]
  • Audits
    • Audit results posted online.[9]
    • Performance audits are posted online.[10]
  • Contracts
    • Rules governing contracts will be posted online.[11]
    • Bids and contracts for purchases over $10,000 will be posted online.[12]
    • Complete statements for awarded contracts are disclosed.
  • Public Records
    • Contact information, including e-mails, for the Public Information Officer for every state agency and department is in central location.[13]
    • Citizens be able to request public records online, either by e-mail or an online submission form.[14]
    • Executive sessions and appropriation meetings will be broadcast online and archived.[15]
    • Information regarding public information violations and how to pursue them will be posted online.[16]
    • At least 24 hours is given notice online before a public meeting is held.[17]
  • Lobbying
    • Database of registered lobbyists.[18]
    • Lobbying database specifies lobbyist, company, client, agency being lobbied, purpose of lobbying.
  • Usability
    • Site is consistent in use of web domains.
    • Internal search function is useful.
    • Information can be found in six clicks or less.
    • Information is presented in a clear and concise manner, with website written in “plain english” instead of legal jargon.
    • Website has a consistent and easy-to-use interface, especially in regards to how the website is navigated and information organized.
    • Budgets are downloadable as PDFs.
    • All PDFs, financial data, and legislation are searchable or can be presented in a drilldown database format.

The bad

  • Budget
    • Appropriation bills are not posted online at least one week before being voted on.
    • The proposed budget is not posted seven days prior to being voted on.
  • Legislative Public Officials
    • Terms of office and date of next election are not posted online.
    • Conflict of interests forms are not online.
    • Salaries and pension benefits are not disclosed for elected officials.
  • Executive Public Officials
    • Agency heads to not always have personalized email addresses provided.
    • Salaries and pension benefits are not disclosed.
  • Ethics
    • Process for reporting ethics violation is not available online.
    • Results of ethics investigations are not posted online.
  • Audits
    • Schedule for audits is posted not online.
    • Information about regular audits is not available.
  • Public Records
    • Annual compliance surveys will not be posted online that measure the number of FOIA requests submitted, number fulfilled, average time for compliance, and reasons for denials.
  • Lobbying
    • Does not disclose state-paid lobbying activity.
    • Agency lobbying contracts are not posted online.
    • Executive and Legislative lobbying is not recorded.
    • All grants given to non-profit organizations should be posted online. The reason for the grant should also be disclosed, along with the contact for organization responsible for oversight.
  • Compensation
    • Each department should list the cost of salaries and benefits.

U.S. PIRG rating

The U.S. PIRG rated the state website a "B-" on providing online access to government spending data, with a score of 81 out of 100.[19]

The scorecard that U.S. PIRG uses has 13 items and focuses on a separate state website that is searchable at the checkbook level. Sunshine Review, on the other hand, focuses on the availability of separate spending-related items; they do not need to be in a central database.

Item Possible points Notes
Checkbook-level website 30 Detailed expenditure information, including individual payments made to vendors.
Search by vendor 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by contractor or vendor name.
Search by keyword of activity 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by type of service or item purchased, category, or government fund.
Search by agency or departments 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by branch of government.
Contract or summary information 10 A copy of the contract or detailed summary information is included for the expenditures.
Historical expenditures 5 Checkbook-level expenditure data from previous fiscal years.
Grants and economic development incentives information 10 Awardee-specific grants and/or economic development incentives are included in the checkbook tool or elsewhere with specific award amounts.
Downloadable 3 Information can be downloaded for data analysis.
Tax expenditure reports 10 The state's tax expenditure report is linked on the website.
Off-budget agencies 2 Expenditures from quasi-public agencies are included on the website.
City and county budgets 2 Financial information for some local governments is accessible.
ARRA Funding 2 A link is provided to the state's website that tracks funding related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Feedback 2 Website users are capable and encouraged to give feedback about the site.

There are several similarities between the checklists. For both checklists, the searchability of information factors in to how usability is rated. Both checklists have an item relating to contracts, tax information, and the budget. The U.S. PIRG requires information for quasi public entities; Sunshine Review requires information on lobbying, which includes quasi public entities' lobbying activity.

Unlike the Sunshine Review checklist with each check worth one point, different items on the U.S. PIRG checklist merit more or fewer points, depending on the item.

State Integrity Investigation

The 2012 State Integrity Investigation graded state ethics laws according to an "Integrity Index." The index was created by researching 330 "Integrity Indicators" across 14 categories of state government. The report assigned grades based on what laws are on the books, and whether or not they were effectively enforced. The report was a project of The Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International.[20]

Delaware received an overall grade of C-, or 70%. It ranked 22 out of the 50 states.[21]

Category Grade
Public Access to Information F
Political Financing D+
Executive Accountability C
Legislative Accountability D-
Judicial Accountability B-
State Budget Processes B+
State Civil Service Management C-
Procurement C+
Internal Auditing A
Lobbying Disclosure F
State Pension Fund Management D-
Ethics Enforcement Agencies D-
State Insurance Commissions D
Redistricting B-

Transparency Legislation

Resources

Resource Run by Includes
Delaware Online Checkbook State of Delaware State checkbook register
Recovery State of Delaware Federal stimulus spending
Follow the Money National Institute on Money in State Politics Campaign contributions
Delaware Open Government Guide Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Open records request information
Sunshine on Schools Caesar Rodney Institute School data
Delaware Spends Caesar Rodney Institute Raw state spending data

Salaries

State and Local Employees

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Delaware employed a total of 31,994 people.[22] Of those employees, 23,424 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $97,842,620 per month and 8,570 were part-time employees paid $12,035,914 per month.[22] More than 39% of those employees, were in education or higher education.[22]

The 17,700 state employees not involved in education are slated for a pay freeze in FY2012.[23]

Insurance

Health Insurance Employees of the state of Delaware may choose among various health insurance plans, including a PPO plan, an HMO plan and a basic plan.[24]

Kind of Insurance Total Monthly Rate State Contribution Employee Contribution
Basic Plan Employee $462.68 $462.88 $0
Basic Plan Employee & Spouse $957.32 $957.32 $0
Basic Plan Employee & Child(ren) $703.34 $703.34 $0
Basic Plan Family $1,196.68 $1196.68 $0
Aetna HMO Employee $485.34 $462.68 $22.66
Aetna HMO Employee & Spouse $1,025.30 $957.32 $67.98
Aetna HMO Employee & Child(ren) $742.94 $703.34 $39.60
Aetna HMO Family $1,279.12 $1,196.68 $82.44
BlueCare HMO Employee $485.78 $462.68 $23.10
BlueCare HMO Employee & Spouse $1,028.88 $957.32 $71.56
BlueCare HMO Employee & Child(ren) $743.76 $703.34 $40.42
BlueCare HMO Family $1,283.44 $1,196.68 $86.76
Comprehensive PPO Employee $535.58 $462.68 $72.90
Comprehensive PPO Employee & Spouse $1,111.70 $957.32 $154.38
Comprehensive PPO Employee & Child(ren) $826.52 $703.34 $123.18
Comprehensive PPO Family $1,389.80 $1,196.68 $193.12
[25]

Dental insurance is an option available to employees, but the state does not contribute.[26]

Life Insurance Employees also receive Group Universal Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance.[27]

Disability Insurance Employees receive short-term disability and long-term disability insurance.[28]

Supplemental Insurance

  • Vision Insurance is available to full-time employees, part-time employees working a minimum of 15 hours per week and pensioners.
  • Home/Automobile Insurance is available to full-time employees, part-time employees working a minimum of 15 hours per week and pensioners.
  • Long Term Care Insurance is available to full-time employees, part-time employees working a minimum of 15 hours per week and pensioners.
  • Group Legal services is available to full-time employees, part-time employees working a minimum of 15 hours per week and pensioners.
  • Pet Insurance[29]

Holidays Full time, permanent employees of the State of Delaware receive the following paid vacation days[30]:

  • New Years Day
  • Martin Luther King’s Birthday
  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Election Day
  • Return Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day

Other Benefits

  • Flexible Spending Account - Employees may contribute pre-tax dollars and then be reimbursed with it for either health care expenses or dependent care expenses, depending on the account.[31]
  • Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit[32]
  • Employee Assistance Program[33]

Pensions

Delaware state employees, judges, state police, firefighters, municipal and county employees and teachers all participate in the Delaware Public Employees' Retirement System (DPERS).[34] There are several plans offered under the umbrella of [Delaware Public Employees' Retirement System DPERS], all of which are defined benefit plans.[35]

Funding Levels

The state's pension liabilities can be calculated in a variety of ways, which yield different numbers. Below are the numbers as calculated by to the Pew Center on the States[36], the American Enterprise Institute[37] and Professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.[38]

In Thousands
PEW AEI Kellogg (2009)
$129,359 $5,688,663 $5,100,000

Other information from the Pew Center on the States Feb. 2010 publication "The Trillion Dollar Gap":

State Pension Funding Levels 2008 (figures are in thousands)[39]
Latest liability Latest unfunded liability Annual required contribution Latest actual contribution
$7,334,478 129,359 149,614 144,358

Public Records

The Delaware Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to the public records of governmental bodies in Delaware. The law was first enacted in 1977.

The Delaware Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.

Statutes 10001 through 10005 define these transparency laws.

To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see: Delaware FOIA procedures.

Lobbying

Delaware spent $180,000 on lobbying the federal government the first two quarters of 2010.[40]

External links

References

  1. Delaware, State Checkbook, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  2. Delaware, Current and Archived Governor's Recommended and Enacted Budgets, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  3. Delaware, Tax Expenditures, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  4. Delaware, Quarterly Reports, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  5. Delaware, Senate, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  6. Delaware, House, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  7. Delaware, List of State Agencies, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  8. Delaware, State Public Integrity Commission, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  9. Delaware, CAFR, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  10. Delaware, Financial Reports, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  11. Delaware, Procurement, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  12. Delaware, Elected Officials, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  13. Delaware, List of Agency FOIA Coordinators, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  14. Delaware, FOIA, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  15. Delaware, Meetings, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  16. Delaware, Public Records Violations, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  17. Delaware, Meetings, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  18. Delaware, Lobbyists, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  19. US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
  20. "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  21. Delaware Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 2008 Delaware Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  23. The News Journal "Budget calls for raises for 19 judges" Feb. 1, 2011
  24. Statewide Benefits Office - Group Medical Plans
  25. Health Rates
  26. Dental Rates
  27. Group Life Insurance
  28. Disability Insurance
  29. Supplemental Benefits
  30. State Holidays
  31. Flexible Spending Account
  32. Commuter Benefit
  33. Employee Assistance Program
  34. DPERS ension Plans
  35. Office of Pensions Home Page
  36. "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011
  37. Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)
  38. Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)
  39. Pew Center on the States "The Trillion Dollar Gap" Feb. 2010
  40. Delaware on Open Secrets, 2010