“Every clerk in this state is responsible for collecting statements from elected officials and some public employees,” Orr said. “Since my office has already created a system for online filing, it makes sense to share it with other clerks who could also benefit from the efficiencies and transparency it provides.”
The Tuesday announcement corresponded with the release of the 2012 Statements of Economic Interests on Orr’s website.
“We know the data is more useful to watchdogs and taxpayers if it’s readily accessible,” Orr said. “Why not implement a similar system in every county?”
Five counties – DeKalb, Kane, Sangamon, St. Clair and Winnebago – have already used the source code to put SEIs online. Once the source code was delivered, Orr’s staff only offered occasional advice. The counties were responsible for implementation and customizing the system, if needed.
Kane County Clerk John Cunningham said their public SEI database will be online soon. “The SEI system was a positive move for us in assisting our units of government and their filers by making reporting and filing an easier task,” he said. “I would recommend this to other counties. It is certainly a program worth looking at to see if it fits your needs.”
The 2,000 filers in DeKalb County loved the new system, according to Clerk John Acardo. “I am truly grateful that we were able to use the source code,” Acardo said. “This is a great example of collaboration and partnership throughout the state.”
“All of our filers submitted their statements online this year for the first time,” said Sangamon County Clerk Joe Aiello. “It took some time and a bit of money to tweak, but we are very happy with the results.”
On June 12, Orr invited the other county clerks to use the source code in an email and letter. Several counties have already responded and requested the source code.
More than 22,000 elected officials and public employees file a Statement of Economic Interests in Cook County. 2012 SEI data show 89 percent of filers answered “Not applicable” to all eight questions and only 4 percent of filers answered more than one question.
The public database is searchable by filer name, agency name, and questions answered.
Cook County: www.cookcountyclerk.com/ethics/econinterest
DeKalb County: www.dekalblocalgov.com/SEI/Login.aspx
Kane County: Coming soon.
Sangamon County: http://eis.sangamoncountyclerk.com/publicsearch/default.aspx
St. Clair County: http://eis.co.st-clair.il.us/SEI/Login.aspx
Winnebago County: www.winnebagocountyclerk.com/sei.asp