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Evaluation of North Dakota state website

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ND.gov is the website for the state of North Dakota.

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngB-
Budget
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Usability
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Elected Officials
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Administrative Officials
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Ethics N
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Audits
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Contracts
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Lobbying P
Partial.png
Public records P
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Taxes
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State agency websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process


This website was reviewed on January 22, 2012.

The good

  • A state employee directory is posted.[1]
  • Elected officials are listed with contact information.[2]
  • Budgets are posted.[3]
  • Audits are posted.[4]
  • Tax information is available.[5]
  • Lobbyist information and lists are posted.[6]
  • State contracts are posted.[7]
  • Bid opportunities are posted.[8]

The bad

U.S. PIRG rating

The U.S. PIRG rated the state website a "C-" on providing online access to government spending data, with a score of 66 out of 100.[10]

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.[11]

North Dakota received an overall grade of F, or 58%. It ranked 43 out of the 50 states.[12]

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

Transparency Legislation

Resources

Resource Run by Includes Year URL
Recovery North Dakota State Stimulus tracking 2011 http://www.nd.gov/recovery/
OMB State Searchable database of expenditures 2011 http://www.nd.gov/fiscal/spending/
Secretary of State State Campaign finance and lobbyist disclosure 2011 http://www.nd.gov/sos/
ND Legislative Council State Budget and Fiscal Reports 2011 http://www.legis.nd.gov/fiscal/
Sunshine on Schools North Dakota Policy Council School transparency 2009 http://www.sunshineonschools.org/Default.aspx
Follow the Money National Institute on Money in Politics Campaign contributions 2010 http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?y=2010&s=ND

Salaries

State and Local Employees

According to 2008 Census data, the state of North Dakota and local governments in the state employed a total of 60,528 people.[13] Of those employees, 34,376 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $125,555,635 per month and 26,152 were part-time employees paid $15,835,009 per month.[13] More than 48% of those employees, or 29,397 employees, were in education or higher education.[13]

State Employee Benefits

Employees of the state of North Dakota who work a minimum of 20 hours per week for at least 20 weeks each year enjoy many benefits in addition to their salary.[14]

Holidays

State employees receive the following 10 paid holidays:[14]

  • New Year's Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Presidents' Day
  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans' Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Annual Leave

Annual leave accrues on a monthly basis according to the following schedule, which is pro-rated for part-time employees[14]:

Years Service Hours/Month Days/Year
0 - 3 8 12
4 - 7 10 15
8 - 12 12 18
13 - 18 14 21
Over 18 16 24

No more than 240 hours of accrued leave may be carried forward beyond April 30 of each year.

Sick Leave

Sick leave accrues at a rate of 8 hours per month, 12 days per year with no limit.[14] Employees may use sick leave for illness or other medical needs; i.e. doctor appointments and they also may use up to 40 sick leave hours per year to care for their sick child, spouse, or parent.[14] Employees with 10 continuous years of service are eligible to be paid for 10% of their sick leave hours upon termination of state employment.

Insurance

The state provides each eligible employee with family health insurance coverage at no cost to the employee, and the state pays $658 per month per employee.[14]

Employees receive $1,300 in life insurance through the group life insurance plan at no cost, for which the state pays $0.28 per month.[14]

Dental insurance is available to employees. Employees pay $37.56 per month in premiums for individual coverage, and up to $119.08 for family coverage.[15]

Vision insurance is available to employees at a rate of $5.16 per month for individual coverage and up to $14.56 for family vision coverage.[16]

Long-term care insurance is another option available to employees and the premium varies depending on the coverage sought.[17]

Other Benefits

  • The Employee Assistance Program provides special assistance in guidance and counseling to employees and their families in dealing with personal problems and substance abuse.[18]

Pensions

The North Dakota Retirement and Investment Office (RIO) was established in 1989 to coordinate the activities of the State Investment Board (SIB) and the Teachers' Fund for Retirement (TFFR) as stated in Section 54-52.5-01 of the North Dakota Century Code .[19]

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,[20] the American Enterprise Institute[21] and Professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.[22]

In Thousands
PEW (2008) AEI (2008) Kellogg (2009)
$546,500 $4,099,053 $3,600,000

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)[23]
Latest liability Latest unfunded liability Annual required contribution Latest actual contribution
$4,193,600 $546,500 $80,928 $59,900

Public Records

The Open Records Statute is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in North Dakota.

The North Dakota Open Meetings Statute legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.

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

External links

References

  1. ND.gov, "Email Search," accessed January 22, 2012
  2. ND.gov, "Branches and Officials," accessed January 22, 2012
  3. ND.gov, "Budget," accessed January 22, 2012
  4. ND.gov, "CAFR," accessed January 22, 2012
  5. ND.gov, "Tax Commissioner," accessed January 22, 2012
  6. ND.gov, "Lobbying and Legislative," accessed January 22, 2012
  7. ND.gov, "Contracts," accessed January 22, 2012
  8. ND.gov, "Current Bids," accessed January 22, 2012
  9. ND.gov, "Citizen's Guide to Open Records," accessed January 22, 2012
  10. US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
  11. "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  12. North Dakota Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 2008 North Dakota Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 Benefits
  15. Dental Insurance Rates
  16. Vision Insurance Rates
  17. Long Term Care Calculator
  18. Employee Assistant Program
  19. North Dakota Retirement and Investment Office
  20. "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011
  21. Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)
  22. Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)
  23. Pew Center on the States "The Trillion Dollar Gap" Feb. 2010