MONTGOMERY, AL – Since Governor Bob Riley ordered the creation of a website a year ago so taxpayers could see how state agencies spend money, the website has recorded more than 117,000 visits – an average of about 9,800 per month.
The website, www.open.alabama.gov, is the state's web portal for transparency and accountability in state government.
"With this website, we've completely opened the books so everyone can know where the money goes and to whom it goes," said Governor Riley. "It makes state government more accountable and transparent than it has ever been. The fact that so many are going online to find this information shows Alabamians are demanding greater accountability in their government."
The website started when Governor Riley signed Executive Order 46 on February 11, 2009 to create a publicly accessible website that detailed spending done by state government. The website went online February 27, 2009 – two days ahead of the deadline the Governor imposed in his Executive Order.
The Legislature later passed a bill sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr and Representative Mike Ball that essentially wrote Governor Riley's Executive Order into law. The Governor signed that bill into law with Senator Orr and Representative Ball at his side during a signing ceremony in May 2009 in Decatur.
The website includes much more than information about spending by state agencies. The site also lists all active statewide contracts and awarded bids, includes a database of all leases held by state departments, and links to notices filed under the Alabama Open Meetings Act, a list of all registered lobbyists and campaign finance reports.
The transparency website is one of many actions taken by Governor Riley to make state government more accountable. He is the only Alabama governor to voluntarily disclose spending from the Governor's Contingency Fund and use of state aircraft. He also is the first Alabama governor to require all state agencies to set objectives and priorities and to tell the public how they intend to spend tax dollars.