Transparency Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is Citizen Transparency?
Answer: "Transparency" has become the buzz word for knowing how a government is spending or receipting money following the 2009 Open Government Directive. Municipalities, counties and school districts alike have chosen to implement the Citizen Transparency product to help their citizens better understand how their money is being received and where it is being spent.
Citizen Transparency websites provide financial transparency to the public with easy access to expenditure, revenue and payroll information for the current fiscal year, as well as a historical view of previous years. These interactive sites can be used to search details of expenses and revenues by category, department, function, fund and vendor. The data within this site covers every level of finances, from fiscal year totals to individual vendor payments, and is updated on a weekly basis.
Question: Is Citizen Transparency compatible with multiple browsers and mobile devices?
Answer: Citizen Transparency supports Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers, as well as most mobile device browsers.
Question: Can charts and tables be exported and printed?
Answer: Charts and tables can be exported and printed within most reports. Where the toolbar with the "Actions" button is available, users can export, print, refresh, search and navigate the associated report. Where the toolbar with the "FILE" button is available, users can export, print and refresh the associated report. For more information about exporting and printing reports, please reference the User Guide.
Question: How do I use the filters?
Answer: When Slicer Filters are available, users can select either individual or multiple items from the filter menu. To select individual filter items, simply click on one item from the filter menu. To select multiple filter items, press and hold the Ctrl button on your keyboard and click on multiple items from the filter menu. Once all items are selected, release the Ctrl button. To clear filter selections, click on the Remove Filter button on the top right corner of the filter menu.
When Drop-down Filters are available, users can also select either individual or multiple items from the filter menu. To select individual filter items, click the items listed in the filter to open the drop-down filter window. Once the drop-down filter window is open, check or uncheck items using the check boxes to the left of the filter items. Once the item is selected, click the OK button. To select multiple filter items, open the drop-down filter window and select multiple items using the check boxes. Once the items are selected, click the OK button. To select or deselect all filter items use the Select all check box.
Question: Are Assistive Technology and Accessibility Features available?
Answer: Citizen Transparency utilizes a Microsoft SharePoint framework that allows users to perform tasks using assistive technology and accessibility features that interact with screen readers. To begin utilizing the accessibility features, the More Accessible Mode should be turned on. Users can turn on More Accessible Mode by pressing the Tab key immediately after navigating to the Citizen Transparency site. The Tab key should be pressed until the Turn on more accessible mode link is reached, and then press the Enter key. More Accessible Mode renders menus and optimized fields for use with screen readers and other assistive technologies.
Most screen readers and other assistive technologies will work with Citizen Transparency, including the basic screen reader Microsoft Narrator. Narrator comes standard with the Microsoft Windows operating systems starting with Windows 2000 and newer. Narrator reads text and describes action items on the sites' pages.
Question: Does Citizen Transparency have user resources?
Answer: Citizen Transparency includes built-in notations, pop-ups to descriptions, and links to government webpages and reports to give the public a better understanding of the data they are viewing. Users are encouraged to explore all content within the Public Menu, and read the User Guide to improve their experience while interacting with Citizen Transparency.
Question: How often is the data updated?
Answer: The data is updated weekly with the most current information available. Most screens show the most recent update date following the text "Data current as of."
Question: What is the difference between Expenditure Transaction Details and Vendor Payments?
Answer: The Vendor Payments screen only shows payments that have been made to a vendor by a processed check. The Expenditure Transaction Detail shows all expenditure transactions whether processed by check, internal charges between departments, Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions and other miscellaneous journal entries between accounts within the system.
Question: In the Transaction Details report what is a Non-Vendor Transaction when shown in the Vendor Name filter and column?
Answer: These are expenditures that are not going to result in a check being processed to a vendor because they have been internally generated.
Question: Are some transactions redacted or renamed within Citizen Transparency?
Answer: Although all government transactions are public record, some records are not open records and are protected by either State or Federal Law. Transactions that may include protected information have had the appropriate information redacted and substituted with a generic name, such as "Income Tax Refund."
Question: What is the difference between Source and Transaction Source in Revenue Transaction Details?
Answer: Source categorizes the money being received, whether it originates from taxes, licenses, fines or other charges. Transaction Source describes how the money is being entered into the financial system. Common transaction sources are General Journal Entries and Posted Payments and Reversals.
Question: How are revenues budgeted in Citizen Transparency?
Answer: Budgets associated with revenues are listed as "Expected Revenues" in Citizen Transparency.
Question: What is included in the different categories of pay?
Answer: Pay Categories can be customized to meet each municipality, county or school district's needs, but the standard set of categories are organized as follows. Base Pay includes any type of pay that maintains the employee on the payroll for their annual hours. Additional Compensation includes pay that is received for special duties performed, training achieved, length of service or retroactive pay. Overtime Pay includes any payment received while performing overtime duties. Miscellaneous Pay includes payments authorized by policy, ordinance or contract that are outside of an employee's job duties such as health savings account contributions, clothing allowances, cell phone allowances, etc. Non-Cash includes items such as vehicle usage, taxable portion of excess life insurance, etc. Absence/Accrual Pay includes any payment received under policy, ordinance or contract for vacations, holidays, sick time and other leave.