WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- County Executive Robert Astorino unveiled a new section of the Westchester County Government website that allows residents to view images of county contracts.
Astorino, a Republican, said chronicling digital copies of the contracts was a part of his campaign to make the county government more transparent.
"During my campaign, I made a pledge that I would not only seek to reduce the cost of government, but that I would shine a light on exactly how the public’s hard-earned tax dollars are being spent," Astorino said in a statement. "Providing digital images of the county’s contracts is a significant step toward this goal."
Previously, the website listed vendor names, contract periods, money awarded, and the department that supervised the project.
After reviewing more than 2,000 contracts that Westchester entered into since Astorino took office last January, the county government has uploaded all contracts except those that contained information that could not be disclosed. Contracts that list information about security systems, medical information covered by HIPPA, copyrighted or patented information, certain insurance information, Social Security numbers or other identifying information will have those portions excluded.
Copies of the contracts will be available on the website once executed.
The County legislators, who have a Democratic super-majority, released a statement Monday criticizing Astorino's announcement as "misleading."
Legislator Judith Myers (D-Larchmont) said residents should be "dismayed by a county executive who attempts to take credit for a transparency initiative that predates his taking office."
"The county executive calls posting digital images of county contracts online a new initiative, but the website portal where contracts can be searched has been in use since the previous county executive’s administration," Myers, the Democratic majority whip, said in a statement. "So, for the county executive to say that, 'Now for the first time, the public will be able to view exactly where their tax dollars are going,' is misleading."
Jessica Proud, a press representative for Astorino's office, said the initiative "is absolutely new."
“The contract search database was initiated, I believe in 2009, under the previous administration, but this is the first time that the additional actual image of the contract has ever been available,” said Proud.
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