Schnirman shines light on county’s payroll, spending with two new websites

Schnirman shines light on county’s payroll, spending with two new websites
Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman (Photo courtesy of the Nassau County Comptroller's Office)

Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman took another step toward making the county’s finances transparent last Thursday with the release of two new websites that disclose county payroll and budget data in a user-friendly format.

At the end of January, Schnriman unveiled the Nassau County Open Checkbook, which provides an inside look into county spending.

“When the county executive and I entered office last year, we found that the way the county displayed this information was woefully outdated and confusing,” Schnirman said in a press release. “The people of this county put us into office so that we can get all of this information out of the proverbial backrooms and show it to our residents in a transparent and easy-to-understand way.”

The two news sites are called the Nassau County Open Payroll and the Nassau County Open Budget.

The Nassau County Open Payroll includes salary information dating back to 2015 and is searchable by department and job title. The website also tracks which portion of the payroll went toward employee salaries, termination pay, overtime and holiday pay among other categories.

According to the website, the county had a total end-of-year payroll of $870.4 million in 2018.

The Nassau County Police Department had the highest overall payroll in the county of $455.05 million. The Police Department’s overall payroll is almost four times that of the Nassau County Sheriff and Correctional Center, which has the second highest.

The Police Department sits at the top of all the payroll categories. The department records the highest average year-end salary at $111,971 and has the largest number of employees with 4,068.

The Nassau County Open Budget website shares with residents the county’s projected expenses and revenues for the year and includes data going back to 2015. This year the county adopted a budget of $3.8 billion.

The Nassau County Police Department also has the county’s highest expenses, accounting for 15.83 percent of the county’s expected spending. The total amount the county is expected to spend on the department is $602.28 million.

Sales tax is expected to accrue the most revenue for the county in 2019, projected to comprise 29.57 percent of the county’s total revenue this year. The county predicts it will receive $1.12 billion in sales tax revenues.

Both of the newly unveiled websites were forged out of a partnership with Tyler Technologies through its Socrata Open Expenditures platform. This same partnership was used to create the county’s Open Checkbook website.

The comptroller’s two new websites are the latest installment in a series of updates to the county’s online presence.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran launched an online portal in March that allows more than 4,000 county employees to submit financial disclosure statements electronically. Last year, she unveiled a new vendor portal that provides vendors with  the ability to register and submit disclosure statements online.

“Nassau County has long been plagued by a culture of corruption due to lack of transparency and accountability,” Curran said. “The creation of a comprehensive user-friendly platform furthers our commitment to transparency, enhancing accessibility and empowering our residents to explore how their tax dollars are being spent.

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