Evaluation of Oregon state website

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

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngB
Budget
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Usability P
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Elected Officials
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Administrative Officials
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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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Taxes
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State agency websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

In 2011 Oregon earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.


This website was reviewed on January 23, 2012.

The good

  • Agencies are listed, with contact information on the agency pages,[1] and a state phone directory is posted.[2]
  • Elected officials are listed with contact information available.[3] Legislators and contact information are also available.[4]
  • The state has a transparency page.[5]
  • Audits are posted.[6]
  • Information on the Oregon Public Records Law is available,[7] and all departments appear to have information on how to submit public records requests.[8]
  • Some procurement information is available,[9] and state contract reports are posted.[10]
  • Current[11] and previous years' recommended budgets are posted.[12]
  • Ethics information is available.[13]
  • Tax information is posted.[14]
  • A lobbyist list is posted.[15]

The bad

  • Although the site has a search function, specific information can be difficult to find.
  • No information is available on Taxpayer-funded lobbying.

U.S. PIRG

The U.S. PIRG rated the state website an "B+" on providing online access to government spending data, with a score of 87 out of 100.[16]

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.[17]

Oregon received an overall grade of C-, or 73%. It ranked 14 out of the 50 states.[18]

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

E-Governance

Oregon's state website was ranked 2nd in the nation in the U.S. States E-Governance Report 2008 which was co-sponsored by The American Society for Public Administration and the E-Governance Institute at Rutgers University. Categories evaluated were Privacy & Security, Usability, Content, Service Delivery, and Citizen Participation[19]

Transparency Legislation

Resources

Resource Run by Includes Year URL
Secretary of State State State audits and Campaign finance and lobbyist disclosure 2011 http://www.sos.state.or.us/
Recovery Oregon State Stimulus tracking 2011 http://www.oregon.gov/recovery/index.page
Oregon Transparency State Income and expenditures 2011 http://www.oregon.gov/sites/transparency/index.page
Follow the Money National Institute on Money in Politics Campaign contributions 2010 http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?y=2010&s=OR

Salaries

State and Local Employees

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Oregon and local governments in the state employed a total of 240,869 people.[20] Of those employees, 162,483 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $697,533,856 per month and 78,386 were part-time employees paid $91,446,734 per month.[20] More than 55% of those employees, or 132,759 employees, were in education or higher education.[20] Another report revealed that one of the highest paying public jobs in Oregon are correctional facility doctors, who make more than $250,000 annually.[21]

Recent history of state worker pay[22]

  • 2007 Gov. Ted Kulongoski offers pay raises ranging from 11 percent to 24 percent to managers and supervisors. The governor offered an additional step increase worth 4.75 percent in addition to cost-of-living increases after unions protested.
  • 2008 The Governor's proposed budget includes no cost-of-living increases and as many as eight unpaid furlough days for state workers.
  • 2009 As state revenues decline, unions agree to two-year freeze on cost-of-living raises, one-year freeze on step increases, and 10 to 14 furlough days, depending on the employee's pay level.
  • 2010 Gov. Kulongoski orders continuation of pay freeze for non-represented state managers and supervisors and asks the unions to continue freeze on step increases, but the unions do not agree, as of June 2010.

Transportation Authority salaries

In 2009 24 TriMet bus operators, 6 max operators and 1 streetcar operator total compensation was more than six figures.[23] About 6.8 percent of the 2,931 people (200 people) in the GovDocs database earned more than six figures in compensation, not including pension benefits.[23] Average compensation for bus operators was $75,800, $82,500 for light operators, and $80,750 for streetcar operators.[23]

State Employee Benefits

Vacation

Vacation Time Accrual:[24]

Years of Service Hours Accrued by Classified Employee Hours Accrued by Management and Executive Employees
1 - 5 years (First through 60th month) 8 hrs/month 10 hrs/month
6 - 10 years (60th through 120th month) 10 hrs/month 11.34 hrs/month
11 - 15 years (121st through 180th month) 12 hrs/month 13.34 hrs/month
16 - 20 years (180th through 240th month) 14 hrs/month 15.34 hrs/month
After 20 years (After 240th month) 16 hrs/month 17.34 hrs/month
After 25 years (after 301st month) 18 hrs/month 19.34 hrs/month

Insurance

Oregon is the only state in the nation in which state employees do not contribute to any of their insurance premiums, be it family or individual health plans.[25]

Pensions

More than 329,000 individuals participate in the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).[26] For the past four decades, investment income accounted for 69 percent of PERS dollars, 23 percent from employer contributions, and 8 percent from employee contributions.[27]

Contribution Rates

On Sept. 24, 2010, PERS approved higher payroll-contribution rates for state agencies, local governments and school districts for the next two-year budget cycle, costing them approximately $1.1 billion.[27] In the 2011-13 biennium, state and local governments will contribute, on average, approximately twice what they paid during the current biennium, meaning that total pension costs will increase a total $1.1 billion.[28]

Rates vary based on the number of employees, their length of service, and their salaries.[27]

  • For employees hired before August 2003, state agencies, the payroll contribution rate will increase from 3.28% to 10.73%.
  • For employees hired in August 2003 and later, rates will rise from 2.84% to 8.05% for general employees, and from 5.55% to 10.76% for public-safety employees.

Funding Levels

PERS states that it is 86% funded, with an unfunded actuarial liability, including side accounts, of $8.1 billion.[26]

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,[29] the American Enterprise Institute[30] and Professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.[31]

In Thousands
PEW (2008) AEI (2008) Kellogg (2009)
$10,739,000 $42,203,565 $37,800,000

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)[32]
Latest liability Latest unfunded liability Annual required contribution Latest actual contribution
$54,260,000 $10,739,000 $707,400 $707,400

Public Records

The Oregon Public Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Oregon. The law was first enacted in 1973.

The Oregon Public Meetings Law 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: Oregon FOIA procedures.

External links

References

  1. Oregon.gov "Agency Listing," accessed January 23, 2012
  2. Oregon.gov "State Phonebook," accessed January 23, 2012
  3. Oregon.gov "Elected Officials," accessed January 23, 2012
  4. Oregon.gov "Legislature," accessed January 23, 2012
  5. Oregon.gov "Transparency," accessed January 23, 2012
  6. Oregon.gov "CAFRs," accessed January 23, 2012
  7. Oregon.gov "Public Records," accessed January 23, 2012
  8. Oregon.gov "DAS Public Records," accessed January 23, 2012
  9. Oregon.gov "Procurement," accessed January 23, 2012
  10. Oregon.gov "Contracts," accessed January 23, 2012
  11. Oregon.gov "State Budget," accessed January 23, 2012
  12. Oregon.gov "Budget Publications," accessed January 23, 2012
  13. Oregon.gov "Ethics Commission," accessed January 23, 2012
  14. Oregon.gov "Department of Revenue," accessed January 23, 2012
  15. Oregon.gov "Lobbyist Publications," accessed January 23, 2012
  16. US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
  17. "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  18. Oregon Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  19. E-Governance Institute
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 2008 Oregon Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  21. MSNBC's Red Tap Chronicles, Does your city manager earn $800,000?, Sept. 23, 2010
  22. The Oregonian "Kulongoski, labor lock horns over Oregon budget shortfall" June 5, 2010
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Oregon Capital News, Want a six-figure job? Drive a TriMet Bus, Nov. 8, 2010
  24. Benefits
  25. The New York Times "States Aim Ax at Health Cost of Retirement" Feb. 13, 2011
  26. 26.0 26.1 PERS at a Glance Oct. 10, 2010
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 The Statesman Journal "PERS board approves employer rate increases" Sept. 25, 2010
  28. The Statesman Journal "PERS rates could strain budgets" Nov. 22, 2010
  29. "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011
  30. Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)
  31. Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)
  32. Pew Center on the States "The Trillion Dollar Gap" Feb. 2010