Phil Windley, Jason Williams to serve as public members of Utah Transparency Advisory Board

22 08 2013

The Utah Transparency Advisory Board added two new members Monday.

The board unanimously voted to add Phillip Windley and Jason Williams as public members of the board. The two were among five people vying for the two seats created under SB77 in the 2013 Legislature.

Windley previously served as the state’s chief information officer, and Williams is a technology consultant and a talk-show host on KVNU. Both served on the GRAMA working group formed in 2011 after the repeal of HB477, the bill that gutted the state’s Government Records Access and Management Act.

Also applying for the positions were Steven Bagley, general manager of the Utah Department of Transportation’s Lester Wire Library and a technical writer; Christopher Bleak, president and CEO of the Utah Association of Public and Charter Schools and former executive director of the Utah Republican Party; former Rep. Holly Richardson, who is also a member of the State Records Committee.

SB77, which was sponsored by Sen. Deidre Henderson, also expanded the board’s scope from financial records to all public records. Henderson, a Spanish Fork Republican, also chairs the board.





Criminal charges, divorce filings updated on Utah’s Right

10 08 2013

Worried about that guy who’s dating your daughter?

I”ve updated the criminal charges and divorces databases on Utah’s Right, with data from Jan. 1, 1997, to Aug. 2, 2013. The data does not include people whose cases were dismissed or handled through diversion or plea-in-abeyance agreements.

I also delete criminal charges that have been expunged, once I receive a copy of the expungement order.

Even taking out those cases, the databases are still extensive. There are 883,792 criminal charges listed in the database, an increase of 5,069 since the June update.

On the divorce side, we have 146,897 cases online, which is 4,058 more than there were in June.

Bear in mind, just because you found a person’s name in the database, that is not positive identification. The courts do not provide dates of birth in the data requests. So, please verify identities with another source before basing a decision on what you see on the site.





Salary databases show past, don’t predict future paychecks

5 08 2013

I received an email the other day from someone who wanted to let me know the Orem salary database needed updating.

“Please update the City of Orem salary information because it is 2 years old,” the person wrote.  “They are now in Fiscal Year 2014.”

The data up there at this time is for the 2012 fiscal year, which began July 1, 2011 and ended June 30, 2012. I will be posting the 2013 fiscal year data shortly.

But I can’t get to the fiscal year 2014 salary data because, technically, it doesn’t exist yet.

Yes, government agencies have already figured out how much they will spend on each employee’s salary and benefits package for the coming fiscal year. But, that money hasn’t been paid out yet.

I field enough complaints from people who don’t understand that we initially show gross compensation, which is salary plus benefits. Publishing what someone might earn in the coming year is not going to make many people happy.

Let’s say utahsright.com posted that an employee was making $100,000 in salary in the 2014 fiscal year, but the employee got fired two days into the year. While that money was budgeted for him, it’s not what he was paid, which would make that posting erroneous, as well as make this guy upset when he gets people asking about the 100 grand he was supposedly paid.

In the coming weeks, utahsright,com’s salary databases will be updated to show the 2013 data — at least for the agencies that are willing to share that data.





Five vying for public seats on Utah State Transparency Advisory Board

1 08 2013

Members of the Utah State Transparency Advisory Board are sifting through five applications for the two newly created public seats on the board.

The new positions were created when the Legislature passed SB77, Sen. Deidre Henderson’s bill expanding the scope of the board from improving access to financial data to all government records. Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, was recently named as the committee’s chair.

The five are Steven Bagley, general manager of the Utah Department of Transportation’s Lester Wire Library and a technical writer; Christopher Bleak, president and CEO of the Utah Association of Public and Charter Schools and former executive director of the Utah Republican Party; former Rep. Holly Richardson, who is also a member of the State Records Committee; Phillip Windley, former state chief information officer; and Jason Williams, a technology consultant and talk-show host on KVNU.

Richardson, Windley and Williams also served on the GRAMA Working Group, which reviewed the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) in the wake of the HB477 controversy. Richardson also received Black Hole awards from the the national Society of Professional Journalists and its Utah chapter as part of the 2011 Legislature that passed HB477, the bill that would have gutted GRAMA.