Evanston gets perfect score on transparency


Source: Youtube screenshot

Brian Costin, director of government reform at the Illinois Policy Institute, presents the Evanston City Council with a perfect score on an online transparency audit. Evanston was one of only six government agencies in Illinois to receive a perfect score on the project, which aims to increase transparency in local governments in the state.

Ciara McCarthy, City Editor

Evanston is one of just six local governments in the state to achieve a perfect score in an Illinois Policy Institute initiative to measure government transparency.

The recognition sets the city apart from the nearly 7,000 local taxing bodies that the institute is surveying as a part of its Local Transparency Project. Brian Costin, the institute’s director of government reform, presented the recognition to City Council last week.

The Illinois Policy Institute launched its transparency project in 2010, Costin said. Since then, it has surveyed over 300 local government agencies, he added. Ratings are based on a ten-point transparency checklist, which includes criteria such as contact information, public meetings, budgets and contracts. The institute launched the project in part due to widespread corruption in Illinois government, for which the state is notorious.

“There’s a number of problems in the state of Illinois, one of them being government corruption,” Costin said. “We think this is one of the solutions to that problem.”

The project also seeks to educate citizens and give taxpayers information about how governments are using their money, Costin said.

Government entities scoring higher than 80 out of 100 receive the institute’s Sunshine Award. Just 50 taxing bodies have received the award so far, according to the institute’s website.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz thanked the city’s digital services coordinator Luke Stowe for his work making city documents available and his contribution to Evanston’s high transparency score during last week’s City Council meeting.

Skokie was one of five other entities to receive a perfect score.

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