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PA Treasurer Unveils State Government Contracts Online Database
Jul 22, 2008 (12:07 PM EDT)


HARRISBURG, Pa., July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Treasurer Robin L. Wiessmann today publicly unveiled a searchable database that allows the public greater access to state government contract information through the Pennsylvania Treasury Department's Web site, .

The Treasury Department created the Contracts e-Library in response to the Right-to-Know Law, which dramatically revised prior Pennsylvania law regulating the rights of the public to obtain information from government about its activities. The new law, signed by Governor Rendell on February 14, 2008, expands the information available to the public, establishes a presumption in favor of disclosure, and creates an Office of Open Records to facilitate any disputes about disclosure of information. In addition, the new law enlarges the number of government agencies, boards, commissions and other bodies that are subject to requirements to make information available to the public.

"Since taking office as Pennsylvania Treasurer, I have been committed to making the Commonwealth's financial information and operations more accessible to all Pennsylvanians," Treasurer Wiessmann said. "We are pleased to offer this new free, online service as part of our commitment to bringing good governance and transparency into all of our day-to-day operations."

The information to populate the Pennsylvania Contracts e-Library will be uploaded into the system by each state government agency. While the Pennsylvania Treasury Department will be responsible for the system's infrastructure and maintenance, the agencies are ultimately responsible for providing contract information for the database.

To aid in public use of the database, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is requiring agencies to supply summaries with every contract for easier access and identification. In addition, when searching for a contract, the Pennsylvania Contracts e-Library will also provide links to any related contracts, such as amendments or purchase orders, to allow users to more readily track the evolution of an agency's transactions with a particular vendor.

The Pennsylvania Treasury Department launched the Pennsylvania Contracts e-Library in just four months by holding focus groups with users and building the online portal for the database. The additional requirements of the new law are not scheduled to take effect until Jan. 1, 2009.

"The passage of the Right-to-Know Law earlier this year was an important step toward boosting the public's trust in government during a time of increasing scrutiny," Governor Rendell said. "The Pennsylvania Contracts e-Library is the first of many action items from that law that will make our operations more accessible, and will continue to break down the barriers between Pennsylvania citizens and government."

The unveiling of the Pennsylvania Contracts e-Library was announced at a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda with Treasurer Wiessmann, several state legislators and other key stakeholders in attendance.

The Pennsylvania Treasury Department, under the leadership of Treasurer Robin L. Wiessmann, is a leader in changing the way treasuries do business. The Department and its employees are accountable for safeguarding the financial assets of all Pennsylvanians, serving as custodian, investors and disbursers of the Commonwealth's funds. Treasury also helps Pennsylvanians achieve financial success through a variety of programs and services like the Unclaimed Property program, the nowU College Savings Program, the KeystoneHELP low-interest loan program, and the INVEST program for local governments and nonprofits. For more information about Treasurer Wiessmann and the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, visit www.patreasury.org .

(717) 787-2991

CONTACT: Carrie Fischer Lepore of the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, news@patreasury.org+1-717-787-2991,

Web site: http://www.patreasury.org/