Michitson Questions Delay in Giving Citizens Access to Online Financials

City Councilors Andy Vargas and Colin F. LePage tout the benefits of ClearGov last spring during WHAV’s Open Mike Show.

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson.

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson.

At least one Haverhill city councilor is questioning a delay in providing public access to online city financial information.

Council President John A. Michitson, in an online post Tuesday, criticized the delayed public access to the most recent financial information.

“Transparency that only goes half way is not transparency at all. The people of Haverhill deserve to know where their tax dollars go,” Michitson wrote.

Chief of Staff David S. Van Dam confirmed to WHAV Tuesday the city purchased, for a $3,000 annual fee, a website budget planning tool from ClearGov.com which includes “all the council was looking for” when first proposed, at the request of three councilors last spring. While a sample page posted then for public access remains unchanged, with information up to fiscal year 2014, he added the administration is first “verifying all the information for 2015 and 2016” and hopes to “get that done fairly soon.”

Regarding the ClearGov service, “We’re testing it to see if it meets all of our needs related to transparency. The mayor is committed to transparency but there are other programs that are more robust,” Van Dam told WHAV Tuesday.

When contacted Tuesday morning by WHAV, Michitson could not immediately elaborate.

Last spring, as WHAV reported, Councilors Colin F. LePage, Andy Vargas and Vice President Melinda E. Barrett had requested a presentation to the council from ClearGov CEO Chris Bullock, who demonstrated the company’s latest software offerings. It was then estimated to cost the city $7,250 a year for the service.

“Transparency, informing taxpayers on budget share/costs, objective comparisons to other communities,” LePage told WHAV in April. He had explained the upgraded software and access “fulfills the Community Compact agreement,” signed earlier by Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Lieutenant Gov. Karyn Polito.

One thought on “Michitson Questions Delay in Giving Citizens Access to Online Financials

  1. Andy Vargas:
    Recently at a public meeting you assisted a woman (by translating her comments from Spanish to English) who is clearly not a citizen of this country. You helped someone who is most likely here illegally, and therefore a criminal trespasser, in exercising her First Amendment rights of free speech to which, as a non-citizen, she is not entitled to.

    A couple of weeks ago a taxpaying citizen of Haverhill, and this country, has had a very public incident of having his First Amendment rights of free speech taken away by officials of the City of Haverhill because of the silliness of the size of campaign signs he has on his property. Unless I missed it, you have not done or said anything to protect the rights of this homeowner. When asked about this issue here on WHAV previously you refused to comment on this.

    Is your silence your official position? You’ll help an illegal criminal trespasser to rights that person is not entitled to, but do absolutely nothing to help a taxpaying citizen of this country exercise those very same constitutional rights?

    Are you helping the homeowner whose free speech rights have been taken away and it just hasn’t been reported here yet? Where is the transparency about this issue, Andy? What are you doing about this?