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Bridgeport, Conn. To Make City Financial Info Available To Public

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The city of Bridgeport, Connecticut said it will make its financial information available to the public through a new website. The site, scheduled to be launched in the spring, will carry real-time information on the city’s revenue and its expenses.

The city is working with State Comptroller Kevin Lembo to create the site. Lembo oversees Open Connecticut, which makes the state’s financial information available to the public. He said Open Connecticut has made state government more transparent, and the same can be done in Bridgeport.

“Transparency needs to be a value for government in and of itself, so putting the people’s information out there on where their tax dollars are being spent, on how their government is performing, must be a value for government,” he said.

Lembo said the site will be automatically updated every time new revenue or spending numbers are put on the city’s budget books, or any time the city’s payment ledger is updated.

“And that is literally the government entity’s checkbook, and it shows every payment to every vendor and any party,” he said.

Lembo said he started working with Bridgeport mayor Joe Ganim on the idea shortly after Ganim took office. Ganim served as mayor from 1991 to 2003 before he was convicted on 16 counts of corruption. He spent 9 years in jail. He was re-elected last year, partially on a promise to make his administration more transparent than past administrations, including his own.

A Ganim spokesman said the site will be overseen by Ed Adams, an FBI agent who helped convict Ganim, then joined his staff.

Lembo said Bridgeport will be the second city in Connecticut to make its financial data available to the public online. The city of Hartford launched its own data website in 2014.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.