Openness, accountability, and honesty define government transparency. In a free society, transparency is government's obligation to share information with citizens; it is at the heart of how citizens hold their public officials accountable.
In an effort to enhance transparency in financial reporting, the City of Modesto offers an interactive reporting tool that allows citizens to explore the city's budget and relevant data online.
The Political Reform Act (Act) prohibits a public official from using his or her official position to influence a governmental decision in which he or she has a financial interest. The Act requires every state and local agency to adopt a conflict of interest code that identifies all officials and employees within the agency who make governmental decisions based on the positions they hold. The individuals in the designed positions must disclose their financial interests as specified in the agency’s conflict of interest code.
To help identify potential conflicts of interest, the law requires public officials and employees in designated positions in a conflict of interest code to report their financial interests on a form called Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700). The conflict of interest codes and the Form 700s are fundamental tools in ensuring that officials are acting in the public’s best interest and not their own.
The Act subjects public officials and employees to certain restrictions related to receiving gifts, honoraria, travel payments, and loans. The City of Modesto has also established Administrative Policy regarding the acceptance of gifts and gratuities.