NEW YORK, May 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With public corruption filling the headlines, and no end in sight to New York's affordability crisis, increasing transparency in government has never been more important. That's why Reclaim New York has launched an unprecedented effort to demand that every government expenditure is made public. Using the state's Freedom of Information Laws (FOIL), the organization has already requested the checkbooks of hundreds of towns, school districts, public authorities, counties and other taxpayer-funded entities.
The New York Transparency Project will target over 3,400 government entities statewide. The effort will engage people with FOIL process trainings, establish an online platform for volunteers, and convert spending information into a searchable online database. The project will also initiate litigation to gain access to spending records should entities attempt to violate the law by hiding data from the public.
"Overspending and public corruption happen when politicians don't think anyone is paying attention," states Brandon Muir, Reclaim New York's Executive Director. "We aim to change that by ushering in a new era of engagement on the part of the public, and transparency from our government. It's time people saw how their money is really being spent."
Reclaim New York has already sent FOIL requests to 253 entities on Long Island, and another 245 in the lower Hudson Valley.
In Nassau and Suffolk Counties 57 municipalities and school districts either ignored, denied, or otherwise failed to complete requests for their checkbook and spending information.
While the Suffolk County government complied, Nassau County failed to respond. Other bad actors who have thus far stonewalled the transparency effort include six out of 12 Long Island Towns: Oyster Bay, Babylon, Islip, Riverhead, Hempstead, and North Hempstead. Additionally, the Villages of Hempstead, Port Jefferson, and Mineola also did not comply – along with the School Districts for Manhasset, Commack, Eastport-South Manor, Elmont Schools, Sayville, and Southampton.
Overall, the analysis of Long Island's results shows that nearly 2 out of 3 Long Islanders live in a Town or County that is not transparent – having failed to live up to their most basic obligations under FOIL.
About Reclaim New York:
Reclaim New York is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to advancing a state-wide, grassroots conversation about the future of New York, its economy, and its people.
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SOURCE Reclaim New York