Financial Transparency Recognition

In December 2009, the Texas Comptroller established the “Leadership Circle” program to promote financial transparency in local government. Each year since 2010, the City of Sealy has attained that program’s highest rating (Gold level through 2013 and Platinum level through 2015) by providing online access to its information in an easily accessible, user-friendly format. This, in turn, has promoted greater accountability and provided citizens with information on how their tax dollars are allocated and spent.

 

This program was discontinued in 2016 with the inception of the Texas Comptroller's “Transparency Stars” program.

 

Transparency Stars - Recognizing Local Transparency Achievements

Since the inception of the Leadership Circle program, the public expectation for government transparency has changed dramatically. Taxpayers now demand more advanced features, such as downloadable datasets and new visual representations of information. In 2016, the Comptroller’s office adapted to these changing times by implementing its new “Transparency Stars” program, which recognizes local governments that go above and beyond previous standards for open government by:

 

  • opening their books not only in their traditional finances, but also in the areas of contracts and procurement, economic development, public pensions, and debt obligations.
  • providing clear and meaningful financial information not only by posting financial documents, but also through summaries, visualizations, downloadable data, and other relevant information.
Transparency Star - Traditional Finances

On October 5, 2016, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced that the City of Sealy was the latest local government entity to achieve specific transparency goals through the Comptroller’s Transparency Stars program. The City of Sealy received a star in the area of Traditional Finances, which recognizes entities for their outstanding efforts in making their spending and revenue information available.

 

Transparency Stars recognizes local government entities that provide easy online access to important financial data.

 

“By providing meaningful financial data in addition to visual tools and analysis of its revenues and expenditures, the City of Sealy has shown a true commitment to Texas taxpayers. This effort achieves the goals set by my office’s Transparency Stars program,” Hegar said. “I am pleased to award the City of Sealy a star for its accomplishments.”

 

The Comptroller’s office launched the Transparency Stars program in March 2016 to recognize cities, counties, and school districts making important strides to greater government transparency. Local government entities can apply for stars in the areas of:

 

  • Traditional Finances,
  • Contracts and Procurement,
  • Economic Development,
  • Public Pensions, and
  • Debt Obligations.

 

After receiving an initial star for Traditional Finances, remaining stars may be awarded in any order. For more information on the program, including specific guidelines and information on how to apply, visit the Comptroller’s Transparency Stars website.