State Auditor visits Morgantown to discuss transparency in government spending

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Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 10:58 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - Legislators from across the state met in Morgantown to discuss transparency within the government.

For years State Auditor J.B. McCuskey had been working on an initiative called Project Mountaineer, which holds government officials accountable for what they spend taxpayers’ money on.

“Ultimately, it is about building trust between constituents and the government. Giving taxpayers the ability to hold bureaucrats and elected officials accountable for the decisions they’ve made with the taxpayers’ money,” McCuskey said.

The partnership with OpenGov created a home for data that showed where a city or county was spending its money.

McCuskey added that this included all purchases made with taxpayer dollars.

“Every dollar that is spent by the state is presented to every taxpayer in real-time. So, if we buy a car. That day the taxpayer will know where we bought the car from. What date it was? How much we paid for it? What dealership, what agency paid for it? You name it,” he explained.

Monongalia County was a pilot for this program and has over the years shared its experience on a local and state level.

County Commissioners Sean Sikora and Tom Bloom both received an award from the Auditor’s office to commend them for their work on the project.

“You can argue the policies. But, if we give the facts and put the information out there. You can clear half the argument off the table, and then we have decent arguments about policies,” Sikora said.

Representatives from the cities of Parkersburg and Elkins and Commissioners from Kanawha, Summers, and Jefferson counties were in attendance.

The CEO of OpenGov, Zac Bookman, was also there.