Evaluation of Maryland state website

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

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngB
Budget
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Usability
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Legislative
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Executive
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Ethics
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Audits
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Contracts
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Lobbying P
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Public records
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Compensation N
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State agency websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

This website was reviewed on March 12, 2013.

The good

  • Budget (9/10 pts)
    • Budgets are posted.[1]
    • Budget information is available for the last few years.[2]
    • Searchable check register is available.[3]
    • Annual Performance Report shows spending and revenue use over time.[4]
    • Tax expenditures report 2013.[5]
    • Governor's budget is posted.[6]
    • Appropriations bills are posted.[7]
  • Usability (10/10 pts)
    • The site has a search function and is easy to navigate.
    • Information available in a downloadable, PDF format.
    • Consistent use of web domain.
  • Executive (5/10 pts)
    • The site has an interactive page to determine an individual's elected officials.[8]
    • A state phone directory is posted and includes e-mail and phone for officials.[9]
    • Salary schedules are posted.[10]
    • Conflict of interest forms are available.[11]
  • Legislative (5/10 pts)
    • The site has an interactive page to determine an individual's elected officials.[12]
    • A state phone directory is posted.[13]
    • Elected officials are listed with contact information.[14]
    • Party affiliation is disclosed.
    • Sponsorship of bills listed.
    • Conflict of interest forms are available.[15]
  • Ethics (6/10 pts)
    • Ethics information and lobbyist list is posted.[16]
    • Process for submitting an ethics complaint is online.[17]
  • Audits (8/10 pts)
    • Audits are posted, the most recent audit is from 2011.[18]
  • Contracts (10/10 pts)
    • Bid opportunities are posted.[19]
    • Contracts are posted.[20]
  • Lobbying (3/10 pts)
    • Lobbying reports are available and searchable.[21]
    • Lobbyist listings with client and employer.[22]
  • Compensation (0/10 pts)

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 75 out of 100.[24]

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.[25]

Maryland received an overall grade of D, or 61%. It ranked 40 out of the 50 states.[26]

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

Transparency Legislation

Salaries

State and Local Employees

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Maryland and local governments in the state employed a total of 339,137 people.[27] Of those employees, 266,704 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $1,275,723,872 per month and 72,433 were part-time employees paid $115,500,037 per month.[27] More than 56% of those employees, or 192,807 employees, were in education or higher education.[27]

State Employee Benefits

Employees of the State of Maryland receive many benefits.

Insurance

Health Employees may choose from eight health insurance plans, including PPO plans, POS plans, and EOS plans.[28] Prescription drug insurance is separate from health insurance.[29]

Dental Dental coverage is available to all individuals who are eligible for State health benefits.[30]

Flexible Spending Accounts Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allows employees to set aside money from each pay with deductions, on a pretax basis, to pay for a wide variety of common health care and dependent day care expenses for the employee and his/her eligible dependents.[31]

Life Employees may choose life insurance coverage in $10,000 increments up to a maximum of $300,000. The employee may choose up to $50,000 guaranteed coverage without completing a medical history statement, but for coverage greater than $50,000, the employee must complete and submit a Statement of Health form to be reviewed by MetLife.[32] Employees may also purchase life insurance for their dependents.

The Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Plan is available to all Active Employees and their dependents who are eligible for health benefits with the State.[33]

Holidays State employees receive 13 paid vacation days:[34]

  • New Year's Day
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • President's Day
  • Service Reduction Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Gubernatorial Election Day
  • Veteran's Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • American Indian Heritage Day
  • Christmas Day

Pensions

The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System is a $33.7 billion public pension fund.[35] Maryland's pension fund is 65% funded, and Moody's has called it a "credit challenge."[36]

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 Maryland pension fund will run out of money in 2023.[37]

Funding Levels

State Pension Funding Levels 2008 (figures are in thousands)[38]
Latest liability Latest unfunded liability Annual required contribution Latest actual contribution
$50,561,824 $10,926,099 $1,208,497 $1,077,796

Resources

Resource Run by Includes Year URL
Maryland Funding Accountability & Transparency State Vendor payments 2012 http://spending.dbm.maryland.gov/
Follow the Money National Institute on Money in Politics Campaign contributions 2010 http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?y=2010&s=MD

Public Records

The Maryland Public 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 Maryland. Maryland statutes 10-611 through 10-628 define the law.

The Maryland Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Statute 10–501 of the Annotated Code of Maryland define the law.

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

External links

References

  1. Maryland.gov "Budgets," accessed January 18, 2012
  2. Operating Budget
  3. Maryland Funding Accountability & Transparency
  4. Annual Performance Report 2013
  5. Tax expenditures report 2013
  6. Governor O’Malley Presents FY 2013 Budget Focused on a Balanced Approach of Reductions and Investments to Create Jobs
  7. General Assembly--Appropriations Committee, Chair
  8. Maryland State Archives "Who Are Your Elected Officials," accessed January 18, 2012
  9. Maryland.gov "Phone Directory," accessed January 18, 2012
  10. [1]
  11. Conflict of Interest Public Orders
  12. Maryland State Archives "Who Are Your Elected Officials," accessed January 18, 2012
  13. Maryland.gov "Phone Directory," accessed January 18, 2012
  14. Maryland.gov "General Assembly"
  15. Conflict of Interest Public Orders
  16. Maryland.gov "Ethics," accessed January 18, 2012
  17. [2]
  18. Maryland.gov "CAFR," January 18, 2012
  19. Maryland.gov "Procurements," accessed January 18, 2012
  20. Maryland.gov "Contract Library," accessed January 18, 2012
  21. https://lobby.ethics.state.md.us/publishedreports/search_regs.cfm Maryland State Ethics Commission - Report Search
  22. Listings of Registered Lobbyists
  23. Maryland.gov "Public Information Act," accessed January 18, 2012
  24. US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
  25. "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  26. Maryland Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 2008 Maryland Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  28. Medical Plans
  29. Prescription Drug Coverage
  30. Dental Plans
  31. Flexible Spending Accounts
  32. Life Insurance
  33. Accidental Death & Dismemberment
  34. 2010 Holidays
  35. The Baltimore Sun "A pension primer" Oct. 4, 2010
  36. The Washington Post "Amid backlash and budget deficits, government workers' pensions are targets" Oct. 6, 2010
  37. New Mexico, Study: NM state pension plan will run out of money in 13 years, Sept. 9, 2010
  38. Pew Center on the States "The Trillion Dollar Gap" Feb. 2010