Evaluation of West Virginia state website
- 1 Website evaluation
- 2 U.S. PIRG rating
- 3 State Integrity Investigation
- 4 Transparency Legislation
- 5 Resources
- 6 Salaries
- 7 State and Local Employees
- 8 Public v. Private
- 9 Pensions
- 10 Public Records
- 11 External links
- 12 References
This website was reviewed on March 12, 2013.
- Budget (8/10 pts)
- Usability (5/10 pts)
- Site has a search function and is somewhat easy to navigate.
- Consistent use of domain.
- The state has a transparency site, although it is not featured on the main WV.gov site.
- Executive (3/10 pts)
- Legislative (3/10 pts)
- Membership directory has name, picture and contact information (including e-mail and phone) of all legislators. Also includes committee assignments.
- Ethics (10/10 pts)
- Audits (6/10 pts)
- Audits are posted from 1995-2012.
- Lobbying (1/10 pts)
- Lists of registered lobbyists and their employers are provided.
- Compensation (0/10 pts)
- No information is available on Taxpayer-funded lobbying.
U.S. PIRG rating
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.
|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.
West Virginia received an overall grade of D+, or 68%. It ranked 27 out of the 50 states.
|Public Access to Information||F|
|State Budget Processes||D-|
|State Civil Service Management||F|
|State Pension Fund Management||D|
|Ethics Enforcement Agencies||B-|
|State Insurance Commissions||C|
- See also: West Virginia transparency legislation
|Economic Recovery Portal||State||Tracks federal stimulus spending||2011||http://www.recovery.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx|
|Official Acts of the Governor of West Virginia and Other Records||State||Executive Records||2011||http://www.sos.wv.gov/public-services/execrecords/Pages/default.aspx|
|State Budget Office||State||Cash flow, revenue, appropriations, federal reports, and budget information||2011||http://www.budget.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx|
|Ethics Commission||State||Open Meetings Act and lobbyist disclosure.||2011||http://www.ethics.wv.gov/Pages/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=WV|
- See also: West Virginia state government salary
State and Local Employees
According to 2008 Census data, the state of West Virginia and local governments in the state employed a total of 117,327 people. Of those employees, 93,289 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $288,640,423 per month and 24,038 were part-time employees paid $20,440,633 per month. More than 57% of those employees, or 67,113 employees, were in education or higher education.
State Employee Benefits
Employees of the state of West Virginia enjoy numerous benefits in addition to their salary.
Paid Days Off
The state offers 12 paid holidays in each year. The number of paid holidays is above the national average for both public and private sector employees. In addition, employees generally do not work on statewide primary and general election days. Employees receive the following holidays:
- New Year's Day
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- President's Day
- Memorial Day
- West Virginia Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Veteran's Day
- Thanksgiving and the day after
Employees earn vacation as follows:
|Service Category||Accrual Rate||Carry-forward Maximum|
|Less than 5 years||1.25 days/mo = 15 days/year||30 days|
|5 years, less than 10||1.50 days/mo = 18 days/year||30 days|
|10 years, less than 15||1.75 days/mo = 21 days/year||35 days|
|15 years or more||2.00 days/mo = 24 days/year||40 days|
Full-time classified employees earn 1.5 days of paid sick leave per month, which amounts to 18 paid sick days per year. There is no limit to the amount of sick leave an employee can accumulate year to year.
The state offers a comprehensive indemnity health insurance plan which includes benefits for hospital, surgical, major medical, prescription drug, and other medical expenses. The state also offers medical insurance through a variety of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO). The state pays the major portion of the insurance premium. Employee paid premiums for health insurance vary by salary. Optional group dental plans are also available.
The state provides employees with a $10,000 decreasing term life policy with accidental death and dismemberment benefits. Additional group rate insurance is also available to employees.
- Flexible Spending Accounts The Mountaineer Flexible Benefits program allows tax-free deductions for dental, vision, and disability insurance, as well as medical expenses not reimbursed by regular insurance coverage (such as deductibles and co-payments) and child/dependent care expenses.
- Longevity Pay
Employees with 3 or more years of qualifying service receive annual increment pay in recognition of the value of their past and present service. The annual increment is $60 for each full year of qualifying service, and is paid in July of each year.
In August 2010, the West Virginia Public Worker’s Union, UE Local 170, filed suit against WVOT (West Virginia IT department) trying to stop the department from outsourcing jobs.
Public v. Private
Between 2008 and 2009 the number of West Virginia's below the poverty threshold increased by 17 percent.
- See also: West Virginia public pensions
State employees participate in the West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement System. West Virginia faces a long-term funding shortfall in its retiree health care system that actuaries have placed at $7.4 billion, one of the biggest in the nation on a per-capita basis.
A recent study by economists Joshua Rauh of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business concluded that the West Virginia pension fund will run out of money in 2019.
Active employees with five or more years of contributing service are eligible for full retirement benefits at age 60, or whether employed or not when the employee's age plus years of contributing service are equal to or greater than 80, with a minimum age of 55.
Each employee contributes 4.5% of salary to the retirement system (tax-deferred).
In West Virginia, the 36,000 state employee or public school teacher retirees receive a monthly subsidy paid primarily by the state intended to help cover the costs of their health insurance premiums. The average monthly subsidy is $333 per retiree. The state will not offer the benefit to employees hired after July 1, 2010. However, the American Federation of Teachers of West Virginia and the West Virginia Education Association have filed lawsuits opposing the reform.
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, the American Enterprise Institute and Professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
|PEW (2008)||AEI (2008)||Kellogg (2009)|
- See also: West Virginia sunshine lawsuits
The Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in West Virginia.
The West Virginia Open Meetings Act 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: West Virginia FOIA procedures.
- WV.gov, "Approved Budget," accessed January 26, 2012
- Executive Budget
- Reports and Charts
- Revenue Reports
- Expenditure Schedules
- TransparencyWV.org Accessed January 26, 2012
- WV.gov, "Agencies," accessed January 26, 2012
- WV.gov, "Elected Officials," accessed January 26, 2012
- WV.gov, "State Phone Directory," accessed January 26, 2012
- 2013 Legislative Membership Directory
- WV.gov, "Ethics Commission," accessed January 26, 2012
- Complaint Information
- Ethics Advisory Opinions
- WV.gov, "CAFR," accessed January 26, 2012
- WV.gov, "Contracts," accessed January 26, 2012
- TransparencyWV.org, "Vendor Payments," accessed January 26, 2012
- "Lobbyist Lists," accessed January 26, 2012
- WV.gov, "FOIA Request," accessed January 26, 2012
- US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
- "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
- West Virginia Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
- 2008 West Virginia Public Employment U.S. Census Data
- Holiday Schedule
- West Virginia Watchdog, BREAKING: WV Public Workers Union Files Court Action Against Office of Technology, Aug. 30, 2010
- Watchdog, Below Poverty Threshold Increases in W.Va., Sept. 29, 2010
- Stateline.org "In graying West Virginia, a mountain of retiree health bills" July 13, 2010
- New Mexico, Study: NM state pension plan will run out of money in 13 years, Sept. 9, 2010
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- "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States," accessed January 4, 2011
- Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)
- Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)