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Evaluation of Wyoming state website

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

Website evaluation

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Budget
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Usability
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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 N
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Taxes
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Transparency grading process

This website was reviewed on January 26, 2012.

The good

  • The site has a search function and is reasonably easy to navigate.
  • The state has a transparency site.[1]
  • A state government directory is posted.[2]
  • Elected officials are listed with links to contact information.[3]
  • Audits are posted.[4]
  • Budgets are posted.[5]
  • Ethics information is available.[6]
  • The state posts its checkbook register online.[7]
  • Lobbyist lists and reports are published.[8]
  • Tax information is available.[9]

The bad

U.S. PIRG rating

The U.S. PIRG rated the state website an "F" on providing online access to government spending data, with a score of 44 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]

Wyoming received an overall grade of F, or 52%. It ranked 48 out of the 50 states.[12]

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

Transparency Legislation

Resources

Resource Run by Includes Year URL
Transparency in Government State Information, budgets, spending, reports and more. 2011 http://www.wyoming.gov/transparency.html
Transparent Gov Transparent-gov.com List of transparency sources 2011 http://www.transparent-gov.com/Lists/State/WebDispForm.aspx?State=WY
Follow the Money National Institute on Money in Politics Campaign contributions 2010 http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?y=2010&s=WY

Salaries

State and Local Employees

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Wyoming and local governments in the state employed a total of 59,238 people.[13] Of those employees, 42,781 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $163,483,434 per month and 16,457 were part-time employees paid $14,749,885 per month.[13] More than 52% of those employees, or 30,986 employees, were in education or higher education.[13]

The state budget for the biennium ending June 30, 2012, did not include pay raises for state employees.[14] The $2.9 billion does not include federal funds for highway projects and other projects.[14]

State Employee Benefits

Employees of the State of Wyoming receive numerous benefits in addition to their salaries.

Annual Leave

State of Wyoming employees earn annual leave based on the number of months they have been employed by the state[15]:

Number of Months Employed Hours Earned Each Month
1 - 48 months 8 hrs per mo (12 days per yr)
49 - 108 months 10 hrs per mo (15 days per yr)
109 - 168 months 12 hrs per mo (18 days per yr)
169 - 228 months 14 hrs per mo (21 days per yr)
over 229 months 16 hrs per mo (24 days per yr)

Holidays

State employees receive nine paid holidays per year.[15]

Sick Leave

Employees earn 8 hours of paid sick leave per month, which equals 12 days per year, with unlimited accumulation.[15]

Insurance

Employees may participate in the State Health Plan, which pays in-network and in-state providers for covered medical expenses at 80 or 85 percent.[15] State contribution levels are[15]:

Coverage State contribution
Employee only $335.37
Employee + spouse/dependents $652.95
Family $744.75

Preventative dental is included in the state health plan and employees may elect enhanced coverage.[15]

Employees may also elect to have life insurance. Life insurance and AD&D premiums together vary from $3.50 to a high of $26.60 per month, depending on age, and cost increases with age.[15]

Other

  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Longevity pay State employees receive longevity pay of $40 per month after completion of each five years of continuous service.[15]

Pensions

State employees participate in the Wyoming Retirement System.

Eligibility

Wyoming has the "85-Year Rule" in place for full retirement qualification -- your age plus your years of service must equal 85 to qualify for full benefits upon early retirement.[15]

Contribution Rates

Wyoming public employees had not made monthly contributions to their retirement plan since 1991 but a 2010 law, Chapter 85, of (Senate File 72), required public employees, with the exception of public safety and EMT employees, to contribute on average $60 a month toward retirement, effective September 1, 2010. For state employees, the agency continued to pay the 5.57%, but the employee had to pay the additional 1.43%.[16][17][18]

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

In Thousands
PEW (2008) AEI (2008) Kellogg (2009)
$1,444,353 $6,628,204 $5,400,000

Public Records

The Wyoming Sunshine Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Public Meeting 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: Wyoming FOIA procedures.

External links

References

  1. Wyoming.gov "Transparency," accessed January 26, 2012
  2. Wyoming.gov "State Directory," accessed January 26, 2012
  3. Wyoming.gov "Elected Officials," accessed January 26, 2012
  4. Wyoming.gov "Auditor's Office Publications," accessed January 26, 2012
  5. Wyoming.gov "Budgets," accessed January 26, 2012
  6. Wyoming.gov "Ethics," accessed January 26, 2012
  7. Wyoming.gov "Vendor Payments," accessed January 26, 2012
  8. Wyoming.gov "Lobbyist Info," accessed January 26, 2012
  9. Wyoming.gov "Department of Revenue," accessed January 26, 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. Wyoming Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 2008 Wyoming Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  14. 14.0 14.1 The Los Angeles Times "Rebounding Wyoming economy, led by energy industry, boosts state revenue projections" Oct. 22, 2010
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8 Benefits
  16. National Conference of State Legislators "Pensions and Retirement Plan Enactments in 2010 State Legislatures" July 19, 2010
  17. Wyoming Senate File No. SF0072 2010 Session
  18. The Associated Press "A look at state pension changes" Sept. 15, 2010
  19. "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011
  20. Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)
  21. Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)