Their view: Transparency in N.M. has made great strides

Transparency in N.M. has made great strides

Sarah Welsh, executive director of New Mexico’s Foundation for Open Government, issued the following news release on Thursday, promoting the state’s new Sunshine Portal:

Today is a red-letter day for transparency in New Mexico.

When I became FOG’s executive director last year, one of the first things I did was survey the landscape of open-government initiatives around the country. I quickly discovered that it’s all about tech — releasing raw data, building online checkbooks, webcasting. It’s about giving people real-time, hands-on access to government information without the need to file a written request.

I thought, wouldn’t that be great? But New Mexico will take years to get on that train. How wrong I was. Six months later, Sen. Sander Rue introduced the Sunshine Portal legislation. It passed by overwhelming majorities and was signed into law. It mandated that the Portal be available to the public by July 1.

Today, the Sunshine Portal is live — more than six months ahead of schedule.

To get a glimpse of how powerful the New Mexico Sunshine Portal is, take a minute and dig in to find how much the Portal itself cost to build. Here’s how:

• Visit http://www.sunshineportalnm.com

• Click on the “Transparency” tab.

• Click on “State Purchases.”

• Click the “Search” button on the right-hand side.

• Under “Vendor Name,” enter SKS. That’s the corporate name for RealTimeSites.

• You’ll see every payment to SKS, across state government, from July 1, 2009, onward. Click on the “Agency” header to sort by agency. (You can expand the columns to see the full agency name.)

• For Department of Information Technology, you’ll see three payments totaling $211,117.50.

• You can click on each individual line item to see the contract number and confirm that these payments are linked to the Sunshine Portal project.

And it doesn’t end there — there are state investment figures, revenue breakdowns, and lists of state employee salaries.

You can view funded capital projects and sort them by county. You can compare the budgets and actual expenditures of judicial districts across the state. And on and on.

Have a very happy holidays, and an open New Year!