Balancing the Ol’ Checkbook

I neglected to link to this last week, but Tertium Quids praised Goochland County for putting its checkbook online. From the RTD editorial they linked to:

That represents a quantum leap in clarity over the financial reporting of some local governments, whose budget documents are sometimes long on verbiage and short on specifics. Knowing that a utility department’s personnel costs are X hundred thousand and its operating expenses are Y million doesn’t say anything about whether the money is spent wisely and well.

Nick Howard at TQ suggests the next step is the launching of a citizen’s audit committee to examine the newly open expenses. This all sparked my attention in light of this move by our own county government here in Shenandoah:

The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors might turn to professionals to help find a new county administrator.

Current County Administrator Vince Poling announced last month that he plans to retire in 2010. On Monday, he said his target retirement date is June 30.

The supervisors have established a salary range of $85,000-$100,000 for the new administrator, said Poling, whose salary is $111,000 a year.

He said four executive search firms have been interviewed, and District 6 Supervisor Conrad Helsley, the chairman of the personnel committee, is negotiating with one of the firms.

Though Supervisor Helsley makes some intriguing points as to why a search firm may be needed, its still a question for debate, particularly when one would hope that Supervisors should know what they need in an administrator.

At any rate, this, along with nauseating budget documents whose line items offer very little insight into just how money is spent and anectodotal stories from local merchants about misguided expenses, adds further fuel to the fire for transparency here in our own backyard.

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