NAUGATUCK — The borough is taking giant steps in cyberspace in an attempt to create a more transparent government.
Local officials, who recently allocated $19,900 to build a new website, have recently started posting financial documents such as municipal union contracts and the contracts of all non-union public employees on the borough’s current site, www.naugatuck-ct.gov.
Anyone who wants to know how much a firefighter, custodian or the police chief earns in a year can now easily look it up, day or night, with a few clicks of a mouse. Previously, that information could only be obtained during certain daytime hours at Town Hall.
Mayor Robert A. Mezzo said it is part of a larger effort to offer people more access to government information.
“This is not an attempt to single out any group or individual,” he said. “This is one more way we can make our government more transparent and offer people the reality of how their tax dollars are spent. … There is no reason why that information shouldn’t be up there.”
Two weeks ago, Human Resources Director Jeanette Deschesnes instructed Information Technology Director Jim Kallipolites to post the contracts — which include salaries — of eight public employees, including herself, on the site. The only non-union public employee whose contract is not on the site is Fire Chief Charles Doback Jr., who will retire on Sept. 5.
All of the contracts are posted on the Human Resource Department portion of the web page.
Kallipolites said the new site should be active by the end of the year. He believes it will offer people an easy way to search for information. The new site, which will be operated by QScend Technologies of Waterbury, will cost taxpayers $3,200 a year to maintain.
Burgess Mindy V. Fragoso has lobbied for a more open government for several years. She believes one way to do that is to make all public fiscal documents readily available to the public.
“There is such a distrust out there and there has been for awhile, and we need to take that away,” she said. “Now, the veil is lifted; it’s all out there for everyone to see.”
She also wants townspeople to be able to find building permits and applications for licenses online, a practice she said will save time and money. And she wants all public meeting minutes posted on the site.
Last year, the borough started posting a link to the entire municipal budget on the borough website’s home page.
“We’re getting there, and I’m very pleased with progress,” Fragoso said. “I’m seeing it come to fruition and sometimes government is very slow at doing things.”