Scott to seek bids and keep $5 million Transparency 2.0 on the shelf -- for now
A budget tracking web site paid for by Florida taxpayers but never made public will remain on the shelf as Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that he will seek bids to create a public budget watchdog site and the vendors of the existing system can get in line with everyone else.
“We have decided to begin a competitive procurement process to contract with a company that best demonstrates their ability to publish web-based, user-friendly budget data at the lowest cost to taxpayers,’’ said Melissa Sellers, communications director for the governor.
The Florida Senate paid $5 million to Spider Data Services to develop Transparency 2.0 for use by the Senate and its staff to monitor the budget, state contracts and personnel services. Although the system was ready to launch in November 2011, it was never unveiled.
A Herald/Times review of Transparency 2.0 shows that, unlike other transparency web sites maintained by the legislature, the governor’s office or the chief financial officer, Transparency 2.0 allows for comprehensive and easy data searching for every line item in the budget. The system supplies planning and budget documents, and audit reports as well as contract information and links to personnel expenses.
It also shows which contracts were inserted into the budget by legislative leadership, offers a comprehensive look at billions of dollars in outside contracts and allows for the public to track budget data that today is controlled by agency and legislative staff.
The governor’s office has not ruled out the possibility that Transparency 2.0 may be the platform for the governor’s web site because Spider Data Services will be allowed to compete with other bidders, Sellers said. The bid process will be open to the public “while also ensuring we save as much taxpayer money as possible” and will begin in the new year, she said. There is no date for its scheduled completion. Story here.