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Advocate editorial board opinion: County receives highest state award for transparency

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Oct. 27, 2010 at 5:27 a.m.


SEE COUNTY FINANCIALS

texastransparency.org/local/counties.php

We commend Victoria County for its work to make its financial records transparent. The county received a Gold Leadership Circle Award from Susan Combs, the Texas comptroller of public accounts this month.

Victoria County joins 42 other counties of the 254 in Texas that have earned the Gold Leadership status, the highest of three awards the comptroller issues for transparency.

The criteria for earning the designation include posting the budget (the county's spending and revenue expectations), financial report (shows how the county met the guidelines of the budget) and check register (line item expenses) online so that county residents can view where the money is being spent.

According to Combs' letter to Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi, the county scored 14 points of 15 points to earn the award.

County Commissioner Gary Burns complimented County Auditor Judy McAdams on her hard work to apply for the state award.

McAdams said she started work toward getting the award back in September. She said the county already had its budget and audit online, so that just left the check registers to do.

"I worked with our IT Department on how to get check registers out of the financial system so we could get it online," McAdams said.

"The one thing we did not get was 'creative use of charts' to make it easier to read," McAdams said. She added she was investigating how to do charts.

We understand that it was quite a task to assemble all the information and lay it out for online publication.

"I was tickled to death. It was a surprise, but we try to make things available," Burns said of the award.

"We have no problem with transparency. We're glad to be transparent," McAdams added.

While we praise the county for pursuing transparency and achieving this award, we still think it should make arrangements to broadcast its weekly meetings. An inexpensive broadcast setup is available and similar to what the Advocate uses to broadcast candidate interviews.

Once this is done, we think the county would have gone the distance to be as transparent as possible.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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