OpenBook website reports expenditure data

Jan. 7, 2014

by Greg Bump

The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) last week launched the OpenBook Wisconsin website.

The site includes the operating expenditure data, including amounts paid for purchased goods and services, travel, and vendor payments, of state government agencies including the University of Wisconsin System.

“With more than 25 million entries in the website, we are taking a dynamic approach to transparency and providing greater access to information about how taxpayer money is being spent than has ever been provided before,” said DOA Deputy Secretary Chris Schoenherr in a press release.

The website stems from 2011 Wisconsin Act 32, s.16.413 of the Wisconsin Statues, which requires DOA to create a searchable website with information about all state agency expenditures in excess of $100. 

Data will be updated on the site every two weeks. The database is searchable by vendor, expenditure categories, employee name, agency and fiscal year. The site currently contains data on expenditures from fiscal year 2008 through the most current month. A search for an employee will show the amount of all expenditures made for that employee in the fiscal year and will include the date of each expenditure, the source of funds and category of disbursement, such as travel.

“We are calling this our beta version because it is a work in progress,” said Schoenherr. Information on state employee salaries and fringe benefits, along with information on grants awarded and contracts entered, will be added to the site over time, he said.

OpenBook data has been reviewed by software programs and personnel to help ensure that confidential information such as social security numbers, home addresses, or home telephone numbers of any employee are not displayed on the site.

All campus employees were notified last June about how to request the redaction of a name from the OpenBook database if an employee has legitimate personal safety concerns, such as having been the victim of a crime or involved in circumstances involving court orders. If employees would like to request their names be redacted from this database, based on the stated safety concerns, they should contact Zubin Mufti (zmufti@ohr.wisc.edu, 608-262-4587) in the UW-Madison Office of Human Resources.