Difference between revisions of "Evaluation of Tennessee state website"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
m (State Integrity Investigation)
 
m (Text replace - "v'' "" to "v'', "")
 
(8 intermediate revisions by 4 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
 +
{{tnr}}
 +
 +
'''[http://tn.gov/ TN.gov]''' is the website for the state of [[Tennessee]].
 +
 +
==Website evaluation==
 
{{State transparency list |
 
{{State transparency list |
 
  Rating                    = {{Rating8}} |
 
  Rating                    = {{Rating8}} |
Line 11: Line 16:
 
  Public records            = {{yes}} |
 
  Public records            = {{yes}} |
 
  Taxes                    = {{yes}} |
 
  Taxes                    = {{yes}} |
}}{{TOCnestright (Sunshine Review)}}
+
}}
 
+
In 2011 Tennessee earned a [[Sunny Awards]] for having a perfect website [[transparency checklist|transparency]] score.
'''[http://tn.gov/ TN.gov]''' is the website for the state of [[Tennessee (Sunshine Review)]].  
+
  
==Website evaluation==
 
In 2011 Tennessee earned a [http://sunshinereview.org/core/sunny-awards Sunny Award] for having a perfect website [[transparency checklist|transparency]] score.
 
:* ''Main article: [[Evaluation of state websites]] or see sample [[proactive disclosure|transparency]] legislation at the [http://www.sunshinestandard.org Sunshine Standard]
 
  
 
This website was reviewed on January 24, 2012.
 
This website was reviewed on January 24, 2012.
Line 23: Line 24:
 
===The good===
 
===The good===
 
* The site has a search function and is fairly easy to navigate.
 
* The site has a search function and is fairly easy to navigate.
* The state has a transparency website.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/opengov/index.shtml ''TN.gov'' "Open Government," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* The state has a transparency website.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/opengov/index.shtml ''TN.gov'', "Open Government," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
* Elected officials are listed, with links to pages with contact information.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/topics/Elected+Officials ''TN.gov'' "Elected Officials," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* Elected officials are listed, with links to pages with contact information.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/topics/Elected+Officials ''TN.gov'', "Elected Officials," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
* Agencies are listed with contact information.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/directory/ ''TN.gov'' "Agencies and Departments," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* Agencies are listed with contact information.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/directory/ ''TN.gov'', "Agencies and Departments," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
* Budgets are posted.<ref>[http://tennessee.gov/finance/bud/archive.html ''TN.gov'' "Budget Archive," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* Budgets are posted.<ref>[http://tennessee.gov/finance/bud/archive.html ''TN.gov'', "Budget Archive," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
* Audits are posted.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/finance/act/cafr.html ''TN.gov'' "CAFR," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref><ref>[http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/AuditsAndReportsSearch/ ''TN.gov'' "Audits and Reports," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* Audits are posted.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/finance/act/cafr.html ''TN.gov'', "CAFR," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref><ref>[http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/AuditsAndReportsSearch/ ''TN.gov'', "Audits and Reports," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
* Information, forms, and contact are provided for [[Tennessee Open Records Act|public records]] requests.<ref>[http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/openrecords/index.asp ''TN.gov'' "Open Records," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* Information, forms, and contact are provided for [[Tennessee Open Records Act|public records]] requests.<ref>[http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/openrecords/index.asp ''TN.gov'', "Open Records," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
* Bid opportunities are posted.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/finance/rds/ocr/rfp.html ''TN.gov'' "RFPs," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* Bid opportunities are posted.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/finance/rds/ocr/rfp.html ''TN.gov'', "RFPs," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
* Statewide contracts are posted.<ref>[http://tn.gov/generalserv/purchasing/SWCWeb_List.html ''TN.gov'' "Statewide Contracts," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* Statewide contracts are posted.<ref>[http://tn.gov/generalserv/purchasing/SWCWeb_List.html ''TN.gov'', "Statewide Contracts," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
* Tax information is available.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/revenue/onlinefiling/ ''TN.gov'' "Online Filing," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* Tax information is available.<ref>[http://www.tn.gov/revenue/onlinefiling/ ''TN.gov'', "Online Filing," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
* Ethics information is available.<ref>[http://tn.gov/sos/tec/ ''TN.gov'' "Ethics Commission," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* Ethics information is available.<ref>[http://tn.gov/sos/tec/ ''TN.gov'', "Ethics Commission," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
* Lists of lobbyists and their reports are available.<ref>[https://apps.tn.gov/ilobbysearch-app/search.htm ''TN.gov'' "Lobbyist search," Accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
+
* Lists of lobbyists and their reports are available.<ref>[https://apps.tn.gov/ilobbysearch-app/search.htm ''TN.gov'', "Lobbyist search," accessed January 24, 2012]</ref>
  
 
===The bad===
 
===The bad===
* No information is available on [[Taxpayer-funded lobbying (Sunshine Review)]].
+
* No information is available on [[Taxpayer-funded lobbying]].
 
* Aside from statewide contracts, contracts are not posted.
 
* Aside from statewide contracts, contracts are not posted.
  
Line 76: Line 77:
 
|}
 
|}
  
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.
+
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.
 
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.
Line 118: Line 119:
  
 
==General Assembly website==
 
==General Assembly website==
The General Assembly website earned a Government-to-Citizen Achievement Award from the [http://www.centerdigitalgov.com/experts Center for Digital Government] in 2009 and 2010. According to the Center for Digital Government, the site has been noted for it's amount of educational material, being well organized, nice design, and streaming video clips with agendas and bill information.<ref>[http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tennessee-general-assembly-website-receives-top-honor-2010-10-18?reflink=MW_news_stmp ''Market Watch'', Tennessee General Assembly Website Receives Top Honor, Oct. 18, 2010]</ref>
+
The General Assembly website earned a Government-to-Citizen Achievement Award from the [http://www.centerdigitalgov.com/experts Center for Digital Government] in 2009 and 2010. According to the Center for Digital Government, the site has been noted for it's amount of educational material, being well organized, nice design, and streaming video clips with agendas and bill information.<ref>[http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tennessee-general-assembly-website-receives-top-honor-2010-10-18?reflink=MW_news_stmp ''Market Watch'', Tennessee General Assembly Website Receives Top Honor, Oct. 18, 2010]</ref>
  
 
==Transparency Legislation==
 
==Transparency Legislation==
{{main|Tennessee transparency legislation}}
+
::* ''See also: [[Tennessee transparency legislation]]''
  
 
==Resources==
 
==Resources==
Line 145: Line 146:
  
 
==Salaries==
 
==Salaries==
{{main|Tennessee state government salary}}
+
::* ''See also: [[Tennessee state government salary]]''
 +
 
 
===State and Local Employees===
 
===State and Local Employees===
In June 2010 the state's total payroll has been projected at nearly $2.8 billion. At that time there were about 44,000 state government jobs paid for through the general fund, averaging $41,000 in salary and benefits. Another 23,800 people work in higher education.<ref>[http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-12/tenn-gov-elect-sticking-to-no-layoffs-in-1st-year.html Bloomberg "Tenn. gov-elect sticking to no layoffs in 1st year" Jan. 12, 2011]</ref>
+
In June 2010 the state's total payroll has been projected at nearly $2.8 billion. At that time there were about 44,000 state government jobs paid for through the general fund, averaging $41,000 in salary and benefits. Another 23,800 people work in higher education.<ref>[http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-12/tenn-gov-elect-sticking-to-no-layoffs-in-1st-year.html Bloomberg "Tenn. gov-elect sticking to no layoffs in 1st year" Jan. 12, 2011]</ref>
  
According to 2008 Census data, the state of Tennessee and local governments in the state employed a total of 369,578 people.<ref name=census>[http://www2.census.gov/govs/apes/08stlks.txt 2008 Tennessee Public Employment U.S. Census Data]</ref> Of those employees, 306,328 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $1,043,980,357 per month and 63,250 were part-time employees paid $51,602,338 per month.<ref name=census/> More than 52% of those employees, or 192,840 employees, were in education or higher education.<ref name=census/>
+
According to 2008 Census data, the state of Tennessee and local governments in the state employed a total of 369,578 people.<ref name=census>[http://www2.census.gov/govs/apes/08stlks.txt 2008 Tennessee Public Employment U.S. Census Data]</ref> Of those employees, 306,328 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $1,043,980,357 per month and 63,250 were part-time employees paid $51,602,338 per month.<ref name=census/> More than 52% of those employees, or 192,840 employees, were in education or higher education.<ref name=census/>
  
 
===Unions===
 
===Unions===
Protests at the state Capitol at times included thousands of those opposed to the collective-bargaining bill and to other measures in the legislature that would limit the power of unions. On March 15, 2011, seven protesters were arrested at the state Capitol.<ref>[http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110316/NEWS0201/103160353/Police-remove-arrest-7-people-TN-Capitol-after-union-protests?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE The Tennessean "Police remove, arrest 7 people at TN Capitol after union protests" March 16, 2011]</ref>
+
Protests at the state Capitol at times included thousands of those opposed to the collective-bargaining bill and to other measures in the legislature that would limit the power of unions. On March 15, 2011, seven protesters were arrested at the state Capitol.<ref>[http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110316/NEWS0201/103160353/Police-remove-arrest-7-people-TN-Capitol-after-union-protests?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE The Tennessean "Police remove, arrest 7 people at TN Capitol after union protests" March 16, 2011]</ref>
  
Companion bills are pending in the Tennessee [[Tennessee House of Representatives|House]] and [[Tennessee State Senate|Senate]] that would end collective bargaining by teachers, making it so that [[Tennessee school districts]] no longer have to negotiate with teachers' unions.<ref name=deseret>[http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700110603/Bill-targets-teacher-collective-bargaining-rights.html The Deseret News "Bill targets teacher collective bargaining rights" Feb. 16, 2011]</ref> The [[Education Committee, Tennessee Senate|Senate Education Committee]] approved [http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/SB0113.pdf Senate Bill 0113] along party lines by a vote of 6-3 on Feb. 16, 2011.<Ref name=deseret/>
+
Companion bills are pending in the Tennessee [[Tennessee House of Representatives|House]] and [[Tennessee State Senate|Senate]] that would end collective bargaining by teachers, making it so that [[Tennessee school districts]] no longer have to negotiate with teachers' unions.<ref name=deseret>[http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700110603/Bill-targets-teacher-collective-bargaining-rights.html The Deseret News "Bill targets teacher collective bargaining rights" Feb. 16, 2011]</ref> The [[Education Committee, Tennessee Senate|Senate Education Committee]] approved [http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/SB0113.pdf Senate Bill 0113] along party lines by a vote of 6-3 on Feb. 16, 2011.<Ref name=deseret/>
  
Supporters of the bills note that none of Tennessee's neighboring states require collective bargaining with teachers, and that the teachers' negotiating rights are unique among public employees.<Ref name=deseret/> Arguing against the bill, a lobbyist for the [http://www.teateachers.org/ Tennessee Education Association] said that the legislation unfairly targets teachers.<Ref name=deseret/>  Opponents also say the move takes away the assurance that teachers are compensated at decent levels,noting that Tennessee teachers own salaries below the national average.<ref>[http://themountainpress.com/view/full_story/11537370/article--Union-busting--Legislature-studies-bill--that-would-reverse-teachers%E2%80%99 The Mountain Press "Union busting? Legislature studies bill that would reverse teachers’ right to collective bargaining" Feb. 21, 2011]</ref>
+
Supporters of the bills note that none of Tennessee's neighboring states require collective bargaining with teachers, and that the teachers' negotiating rights are unique among public employees.<Ref name=deseret/> Arguing against the bill, a lobbyist for the [http://www.teateachers.org/ Tennessee Education Association] said that the legislation unfairly targets teachers.<Ref name=deseret/>  Opponents also say the move takes away the assurance that teachers are compensated at decent levels,noting that Tennessee teachers own salaries below the national average.<ref>[http://themountainpress.com/view/full_story/11537370/article--Union-busting--Legislature-studies-bill--that-would-reverse-teachers%E2%80%99 The Mountain Press "Union busting? Legislature studies bill that would reverse teachers’ right to collective bargaining" Feb. 21, 2011]</ref>
 
<math>Insert formula here</math>
 
<math>Insert formula here</math>
  
 
===State Employee Benefits===
 
===State Employee Benefits===
===Paid Time Off===
+
====Paid Time Off====
 
'''Holidays'''
 
'''Holidays'''
 +
 
State employees receive the following 11 paid holidays:<ref>[http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/about/holidays.html Holidays]</ref>
 
State employees receive the following 11 paid holidays:<ref>[http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/about/holidays.html Holidays]</ref>
 
*New Year's Day
 
*New Year's Day
Line 176: Line 179:
  
 
'''Annual Leave'''
 
'''Annual Leave'''
 +
 
Full-time employees earn annual leave each month at a rated based on years of service as follows<ref name=ben>[http://tn.gov/dohr/employment/benefits.html Benefits]</ref>:
 
Full-time employees earn annual leave each month at a rated based on years of service as follows<ref name=ben>[http://tn.gov/dohr/employment/benefits.html Benefits]</ref>:
 
{|Class=wikitable
 
{|Class=wikitable
Line 192: Line 196:
  
 
'''Sick Leave'''
 
'''Sick Leave'''
 +
 
All full-time employees accrue 1 day (7.5 hours) of sick leave per month, provided they work the major portion of that month.<ref name=ben/>
 
All full-time employees accrue 1 day (7.5 hours) of sick leave per month, provided they work the major portion of that month.<ref name=ben/>
  
 
'''Bereavement Leave'''
 
'''Bereavement Leave'''
 +
 
Leave with pay is granted for three days in the event of the death of an employee's spouse, child, stepchild, grandchild, parents, grandparents, siblings, stepparents, foster parents, or parents-in-law without charge to the employee's leave time. Two additional days of sick leave may be granted to provide a total of five days absence for this purpose.<ref name=ben/>
 
Leave with pay is granted for three days in the event of the death of an employee's spouse, child, stepchild, grandchild, parents, grandparents, siblings, stepparents, foster parents, or parents-in-law without charge to the employee's leave time. Two additional days of sick leave may be granted to provide a total of five days absence for this purpose.<ref name=ben/>
  
===Insurance===
+
====Insurance====
 
Employees can select among three '''health insurance''' plans: a PPO, a POS, and an HMO.<ref>[http://www.state.tn.us/finance/ins/health.html Health Insurance]</ref> For each plan, the state pays $430.48 for an employee who has individual coverage and $1074.75 for an employee with family coverage.<ref name=premium>[http://www.state.tn.us/finance/ins/premium.html Monthly Premiums]</ref>
 
Employees can select among three '''health insurance''' plans: a PPO, a POS, and an HMO.<ref>[http://www.state.tn.us/finance/ins/health.html Health Insurance]</ref> For each plan, the state pays $430.48 for an employee who has individual coverage and $1074.75 for an employee with family coverage.<ref name=premium>[http://www.state.tn.us/finance/ins/premium.html Monthly Premiums]</ref>
  
Line 207: Line 213:
  
 
'''Optional Supplemental Coverage'''
 
'''Optional Supplemental Coverage'''
Long-term care coverage is an optional benefit available to employees, who pay the full cost of the premium.<ref name=premium/>  Optional special accident coverage is available to employees, as is universal life and term life insurance.<ref name=life/>
 
  
===Other Benefits===
+
Long-term care coverage is an optional benefit available to employees, who pay the full cost of the premium.<ref name=premium/> Optional special accident coverage is available to employees, as is universal life and term life insurance.<ref name=life/>
 +
 
 +
====Other Benefits====
 
*Longevity Pay - Beginning with the completion of 36 months of creditable state service (1,600 hours or more worked in a fiscal year), employees receive an annual payment of $100.00 for each year of creditable state service to a maximum of 30 years of service ($3,000).<ref name=ben/>
 
*Longevity Pay - Beginning with the completion of 36 months of creditable state service (1,600 hours or more worked in a fiscal year), employees receive an annual payment of $100.00 for each year of creditable state service to a maximum of 30 years of service ($3,000).<ref name=ben/>
 
*Flexible Benefits Plan<ref name=ben/>
 
*Flexible Benefits Plan<ref name=ben/>
*Higher Education Fee Discounts and Waivers - A 25% discount on undergraduate tuition at any state operated institution of higher learning in Tennessee is available to children 23 years of age or under of full time state employees. In addition, full-time state employees with six months of continuous service are eligible to have tuition fees waived for one course per semester at a state institution.<ref name=ben/>
+
*Higher Education Fee Discounts and Waivers - A 25% discount on undergraduate tuition at any state operated institution of higher learning in Tennessee is available to children 23 years of age or under of full time state employees. In addition, full-time state employees with six months of continuous service are eligible to have tuition fees waived for one course per semester at a state institution.<ref name=ben/>
 
*Employee Assistance Program is a confidential counseling and referral service for all employees and their dependents. All services are strictly confidential and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.<ref name=ben/>
 
*Employee Assistance Program is a confidential counseling and referral service for all employees and their dependents. All services are strictly confidential and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.<ref name=ben/>
  
 
==Pensions==
 
==Pensions==
{{main|Tennessee public pensions}}
+
::* ''See also: [[Tennessee public pensions]]''
 +
 
 
All full-time state employees are covered by the [http://treasury.tn.gov/tcrs/ Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System], a defined benefit pension plan.<ref name=report>[http://treasury.tn.gov/tcrs/TCRS-AnnualReport_2008.pdf TCRS Annual Report]</ref>
 
All full-time state employees are covered by the [http://treasury.tn.gov/tcrs/ Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System], a defined benefit pension plan.<ref name=report>[http://treasury.tn.gov/tcrs/TCRS-AnnualReport_2008.pdf TCRS Annual Report]</ref>
  
==Contribution Rate==
+
===Contribution Rate===
 
The State contributes 13.64% of an employee's salary.<ref name=report/>
 
The State contributes 13.64% of an employee's salary.<ref name=report/>
  
==Funding Levels==
+
===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,<ref>[http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/report_detail.aspx?id=56695 "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011]</ref> the American Enterprise Institute<ref>[http://www.aei.org/outlook/100948 Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)]</ref> and Professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.<ref>[http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1352608 Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)]</ref>
+
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,<ref>[http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/report_detail.aspx?id=56695 "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011]</ref> the American Enterprise Institute<ref>[http://www.aei.org/outlook/100948 Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)]</ref> and Professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.<ref>[http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1352608 Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)]</ref>
 
{| class= wikitable sortable
 
{| class= wikitable sortable
 
|+ In Thousands
 
|+ In Thousands
Line 246: Line 254:
  
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
|+ State Retiree Health Care and Other Non-Pension Benefits Funding 2008 (figures are in thousands)<ref name=trillion/>
+
|+ State Retiree Healthcare and Other Non-Pension Benefits Funding 2008 (figures are in thousands)<ref name=trillion/>
 
|-
 
|-
 
! Latest liability
 
! Latest liability
Line 265: Line 273:
 
This data is based on projected data from 2008 census data.<ref>[http://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/index.php/Kellogg/article/pensions_in_peril ''Northwestern University'', The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans, May 2010]</ref>  In 2008, $1.94 trillion was set aside for [[Public pensions|pensions]], but it is estimated that states have $5.17 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
 
This data is based on projected data from 2008 census data.<ref>[http://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/index.php/Kellogg/article/pensions_in_peril ''Northwestern University'', The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans, May 2010]</ref>  In 2008, $1.94 trillion was set aside for [[Public pensions|pensions]], but it is estimated that states have $5.17 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
  
==Rate of Return==
+
===Rate of Return===
 
Tennessee presumes a 7.50% return rate on its pension investments.<ref name=trillion/>
 
Tennessee presumes a 7.50% return rate on its pension investments.<ref name=trillion/>
  
 
==Public Records==
 
==Public Records==
{{main|Tennessee sunshine lawsuits}}
+
::* ''See also: [[Tennessee sunshine lawsuits]]''
The '''Tennessee Public Records Act''' (Tennessee Code Annotated 10-7-101 et seq.) is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in [[Tennessee (Sunshine Review)]].
+
 
 +
The '''Tennessee Public Records Act''' (Tennessee Code Annotated 10-7-101 et seq.) is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in [[Tennessee]].
  
 
The '''[[Tennessee Open Meetings Law]]''' legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.
 
The '''[[Tennessee Open 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: [[Tennessee FOIA procedures]]
+
To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see: [[Tennessee FOIA procedures]].
 
+
==Recent news==
+
:: ''See also: [[Tennessee transparency headlines]]''
+
{{State news DPL|
+
state = Tennessee
+
}}
+
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
Line 289: Line 292:
 
* [http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/ Attorney General]
 
* [http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/ Attorney General]
 
* [http://www.tn.gov/governor/ Contact the Governor]
 
* [http://www.tn.gov/governor/ Contact the Governor]
* See sample [[proactive disclosure|transparency]] legislation at the [http://www.sunshinestandard.org Sunshine Standard]
+
 
 
* [http://www.statebudgetsolutions.org/state/detail/Tennessee Tennessee on State Budget Solutions]
 
* [http://www.statebudgetsolutions.org/state/detail/Tennessee Tennessee on State Budget Solutions]
  
Line 295: Line 298:
 
{{reflist|2}}
 
{{reflist|2}}
  
{{Tennessee (Sunshine Review)}}
+
{{Tennessee}}
  
 
[[Category:Tennessee]]
 
[[Category:Tennessee]]
 
[[Category:Rated state website articles]]
 
[[Category:Rated state website articles]]
[[Category:Sunshine Review pages]]
 

Latest revision as of 08:03, 28 April 2014

TN.gov is the website for the state of Tennessee.

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngB
Budget
{{{1}}}
Usability
{{{1}}}
Elected Officials
{{{1}}}
Administrative Officials
{{{1}}}
Ethics
{{{1}}}
Audits
{{{1}}}
Contracts P
Partial.png
Lobbying P
Partial.png
Public records
{{{1}}}
Taxes
{{{1}}}
State agency websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

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


This website was reviewed on January 24, 2012.

The good

  • The site has a search function and is fairly easy to navigate.
  • The state has a transparency website.[1]
  • Elected officials are listed, with links to pages with contact information.[2]
  • Agencies are listed with contact information.[3]
  • Budgets are posted.[4]
  • Audits are posted.[5][6]
  • Information, forms, and contact are provided for public records requests.[7]
  • Bid opportunities are posted.[8]
  • Statewide contracts are posted.[9]
  • Tax information is available.[10]
  • Ethics information is available.[11]
  • Lists of lobbyists and their reports are available.[12]

The bad

U.S. PIRG rating

The U.S. PIRG rated the state website a "D-" on providing online access to government spending data, with a score of 51 out of 100.[13]

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.[14]

Tennessee received an overall grade of C, or 76%. It ranked 8 out of the 50 states.[15]

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

General Assembly website

The General Assembly website earned a Government-to-Citizen Achievement Award from the Center for Digital Government in 2009 and 2010. According to the Center for Digital Government, the site has been noted for it's amount of educational material, being well organized, nice design, and streaming video clips with agendas and bill information.[16]

Transparency Legislation

Resources

Resource Run by Includes Year URL
Recovery Tennessee State Stimulus tracking 2011 http://www.tnrecovery.gov/
Online Campaign Finance State Campaign finance and lobbyist disclosure 2011 https://apps.tn.gov/tncamp/
Live Video State Video coverage of House and Senate 2011 http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/livevideo/
Tennessee Ethics State Disclosure of Interests 2011 https://apps.tn.gov/conflict/
Open Tennessee State Vendors, salaries, audits, budgets 2011 http://tn.gov/opengov/
Follow the Money National Institute on Money in Politics Campaign contributions 2010 http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?y=2010&s=TN

Salaries

State and Local Employees

In June 2010 the state's total payroll has been projected at nearly $2.8 billion. At that time there were about 44,000 state government jobs paid for through the general fund, averaging $41,000 in salary and benefits. Another 23,800 people work in higher education.[17]

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Tennessee and local governments in the state employed a total of 369,578 people.[18] Of those employees, 306,328 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $1,043,980,357 per month and 63,250 were part-time employees paid $51,602,338 per month.[18] More than 52% of those employees, or 192,840 employees, were in education or higher education.[18]

Unions

Protests at the state Capitol at times included thousands of those opposed to the collective-bargaining bill and to other measures in the legislature that would limit the power of unions. On March 15, 2011, seven protesters were arrested at the state Capitol.[19]

Companion bills are pending in the Tennessee House and Senate that would end collective bargaining by teachers, making it so that Tennessee school districts no longer have to negotiate with teachers' unions.[20] The Senate Education Committee approved Senate Bill 0113 along party lines by a vote of 6-3 on Feb. 16, 2011.[20]

Supporters of the bills note that none of Tennessee's neighboring states require collective bargaining with teachers, and that the teachers' negotiating rights are unique among public employees.[20] Arguing against the bill, a lobbyist for the Tennessee Education Association said that the legislation unfairly targets teachers.[20] Opponents also say the move takes away the assurance that teachers are compensated at decent levels,noting that Tennessee teachers own salaries below the national average.[21] <math>Insert formula here</math>

State Employee Benefits

Holidays

State employees receive the following 11 paid holidays:[22]

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

Annual Leave

Full-time employees earn annual leave each month at a rated based on years of service as follows[23]:

Years of Service Annual Leave Earned per Month Maximum Allowable days
0 up to 5 1 day 30 days
5 up to 10 1 and ½ days 36 days
10 up to 20 1 and ¾ days 39 days
20 or more 2 days 42 days

Sick Leave

All full-time employees accrue 1 day (7.5 hours) of sick leave per month, provided they work the major portion of that month.[23]

Bereavement Leave

Leave with pay is granted for three days in the event of the death of an employee's spouse, child, stepchild, grandchild, parents, grandparents, siblings, stepparents, foster parents, or parents-in-law without charge to the employee's leave time. Two additional days of sick leave may be granted to provide a total of five days absence for this purpose.[23]

Insurance

Employees can select among three health insurance plans: a PPO, a POS, and an HMO.[24] For each plan, the state pays $430.48 for an employee who has individual coverage and $1074.75 for an employee with family coverage.[25]

Dental insurance is available to employees, and employees pay the full cost of the premium.[25]

The state provides, at no cost to employees, $20,000 of basic term life insurance and $40,000 of basic special accident coverage. For employees who elect health coverage, the amount of coverage increases as the employee's salary increases, with premiums for coverage above $20,000/$40,000 deducted from the employee's paycheck. The maximum amount of coverage is $50,000 for term life and $100,000 for accidental death and dismemberment. The amount of coverage declines when the employee is older than 65.[26]

Eligible dependents of employees enrolled in health coverage are covered for $3,000 of basic dependent term life coverage. Dependents are eligible for basic special accident insurance, with the amounts of coverage based on salary and family composition.[26]

Optional Supplemental Coverage

Long-term care coverage is an optional benefit available to employees, who pay the full cost of the premium.[25] Optional special accident coverage is available to employees, as is universal life and term life insurance.[26]

Other Benefits

  • Longevity Pay - Beginning with the completion of 36 months of creditable state service (1,600 hours or more worked in a fiscal year), employees receive an annual payment of $100.00 for each year of creditable state service to a maximum of 30 years of service ($3,000).[23]
  • Flexible Benefits Plan[23]
  • Higher Education Fee Discounts and Waivers - A 25% discount on undergraduate tuition at any state operated institution of higher learning in Tennessee is available to children 23 years of age or under of full time state employees. In addition, full-time state employees with six months of continuous service are eligible to have tuition fees waived for one course per semester at a state institution.[23]
  • Employee Assistance Program is a confidential counseling and referral service for all employees and their dependents. All services are strictly confidential and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.[23]

Pensions

All full-time state employees are covered by the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, a defined benefit pension plan.[27]

Contribution Rate

The State contributes 13.64% of an employee's salary.[27]

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

In Thousands
PEW (2008) AEI (2008) Kellogg (2009)
$1,602,802 $30,546,099 $23,200,000

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)[31]
Latest liability Latest unfunded liability Annual required contribution Latest actual contribution
$32,715,771 $1,602,802 $838,259 $825,259
State Retiree Healthcare and Other Non-Pension Benefits Funding 2008 (figures are in thousands)[31]
Latest liability Latest unfunded liability Annual required contribution Latest actual contribution
$1,746,879 $1,746,879 $167,787 $63,140
Underfunded pension liabilities
Number of pension plans Pension assets ($bn) Stated liabilities ($bn) Funding status (% of tax revenue)
1 $25.8 $34.7 -284%

This data is based on projected data from 2008 census data.[32] In 2008, $1.94 trillion was set aside for pensions, but it is estimated that states have $5.17 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Rate of Return

Tennessee presumes a 7.50% return rate on its pension investments.[31]

Public Records

The Tennessee Public Records Act (Tennessee Code Annotated 10-7-101 et seq.) is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Open 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: Tennessee FOIA procedures.

External links

References

  1. TN.gov, "Open Government," accessed January 24, 2012
  2. TN.gov, "Elected Officials," accessed January 24, 2012
  3. TN.gov, "Agencies and Departments," accessed January 24, 2012
  4. TN.gov, "Budget Archive," accessed January 24, 2012
  5. TN.gov, "CAFR," accessed January 24, 2012
  6. TN.gov, "Audits and Reports," accessed January 24, 2012
  7. TN.gov, "Open Records," accessed January 24, 2012
  8. TN.gov, "RFPs," accessed January 24, 2012
  9. TN.gov, "Statewide Contracts," accessed January 24, 2012
  10. TN.gov, "Online Filing," accessed January 24, 2012
  11. TN.gov, "Ethics Commission," accessed January 24, 2012
  12. TN.gov, "Lobbyist search," accessed January 24, 2012
  13. US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
  14. "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  15. Tennessee Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  16. Market Watch, Tennessee General Assembly Website Receives Top Honor, Oct. 18, 2010
  17. Bloomberg "Tenn. gov-elect sticking to no layoffs in 1st year" Jan. 12, 2011
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 2008 Tennessee Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  19. The Tennessean "Police remove, arrest 7 people at TN Capitol after union protests" March 16, 2011
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 The Deseret News "Bill targets teacher collective bargaining rights" Feb. 16, 2011
  21. The Mountain Press "Union busting? Legislature studies bill that would reverse teachers’ right to collective bargaining" Feb. 21, 2011
  22. Holidays
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 Benefits
  24. Health Insurance
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Monthly Premiums
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Life Insurance
  27. 27.0 27.1 TCRS Annual Report
  28. "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011
  29. Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)
  30. Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Pew Center on the States "The Trillion Dollar Gap" Feb. 2010
  32. Northwestern University, The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans, May 2010