News Release: The Mackinac Center and Novi Schools Inspire City of Novi to Take Lead on Local Government Transparency

For Immediate Release
Monday, June 22, 2009
Contact: Kenneth M. Braun
Policy Analyst

MIDLAND - Citing the Novi School District, President Barack Obama and the Mackinac Center as inspiration, the city of Novi has lead the way in government transparency by posting its check register online. As part of the Mackinac Center's "Show Michigan the Money" project, Director Kenneth M. Braun has been encouraging transparency for all public funds around the state.

"There has been a lot of public discussion about the proposals for federal stimulus spending, and ensuring accountability and transparency in how those dollars are spent," said City Councilman Andrew Mutch, who pushed for the proposal. "[The] city should ensure that residents can track the progress of those projects and the expenditures of dollars." In a memo to the mayor and City Council, Mutch noted transparency initiatives taking place at the local and federal levels. "At the state level," he added, "the Mackinac Center has been leading the effort to have the state government and school districts make their financial reports available to the public."

Novi joins such cities as Flint and 42 public school districts on the growing list of government entities that are making public spending information available online. Seven of the top 20 largest school districts in the state — representing more than one in six public school students — have made their check registers available online. Links to the school district checkbook registers are available at

"The unprecedented spending set to come out of Washington calls for exceptionally open accountability by those getting the money," noted Braun. "Novi is setting an example that every government in Michigan and the state of Michigan itself should follow."

The Show Michigan the Money project has asked Gov. Jennifer Granholm to provide a detailed expenditure report for all of state government. Her office has declined.

Braun and Ron Dzwonkowski, associate editor of the Detroit Free Press, will discuss government transparency in an Issues & Ideas forum from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Mackinac Room at the House Office Building in Lansing.