Encinitas, California Improves Public Trust and Efficiency with OpenGov
POPULATION: 61,588 | AGENCY TYPE: City | ANNUAL BUDGET: $103 million
Encinitas pursues robust communications initiative to engage citizens.
Nash, Communications Officer Marlena Medford, and Chief Information Officer Lynn Tufts set out to empower citizens to find, understand, and access the financial and budget information they sought at any time. They discovered OpenGov and decided it was the right tool to help advance the city’s transparency and engagement goals.
Providing Access and Restoring Trust
In June 2014, after a smooth implementation, Encinitas and its associated San Dieguito Water District, became the first two public agencies in San Diego County to launch financial transparency platforms. Nash immediately began using its OpenGov platform to answer questions from citizens and council members about the budget. The availability of interactive, easy-to-understand data has gone a long way in building trust among the community. “OpenGov has helped create a level playing field with the data; it provides the same numbers to everyone. Consistency is huge because trust stems from that. If you have different sets of numbers, then that’s a killer,” Nash said.
Nash and Medford’s collaboration and leadership established Encinitas as a regional leader in transparency and civic engagement. Nash, for example, has observed a reduction in requests for information about finances. “We see fewer people at council meetings bring up problems regarding finances because they can now easily look up the information. I have not heard any complaints from citizens not being able to find information,” he added.
At council meetings, Nash and other city staff have the ability to use OpenGov to answer financial questions on demand in real time: “It’s pretty powerful to have access to the information. In just two to three clicks, you’re there.”