Open Books

open booksThis page offers online resources for people making efforts to keep tabs on government. If you have a link you’d like to share, or to report a broken link, please use the form at the bottom of the page.

Local Resources: Government

  • City of DeKalb Downloads Page
  • Meeting agendas, minutes, financial reports, union contracts, etc., are organized by department.

  • DeKalb County Government
  • The above link starts your navigation to various county departments and documents. If you don’t see what you want on the opening page, try the A to Z index. We’ve also broken out a few commonly sought county links below: County Clerk, Forest Preserve and Property Tax Search.

  • DeKalb County Clerk & Recorder
  • The Office of the Clerk and Recorder has established an independent website offering records and resources to its constituencies.

  • DeKalb County Forest Preserve District

  • DeKalb County Property Tax & Assessment Search
  • Property tax database search allows lookups by name, address, or parcel number.

  • DeKalb Park District

  • DeKalb Sanitary District
  • The Sanitary District serves the City of DeKalb area, but is a separate governmental unit supported mostly by user fees.

  • DeKalb School District/CUSD 428: Cortland, DeKalb & Malta

  • DeKalb Township, Illinois
  • Local Resources: Watchdog

  • DeKalb County Online
  • To understand how the local cogs fit together, don’t miss this well-established online magazine that is popular both for community news and its advocacy of better government.

  • Illinois Policy Institute: Local Transparency Project
  • Anyone can use the 10-point Transparency Checklist and rubric to rate local government websites and to read about units that IPI has already rated.

    Neighboring Illinois Counties: Government

  • DuPage County’s Official Website
  • This is one of the more easily navigable county websites out there. Don’t miss the Ethics page.

    Neighboring Illinois Counties: Watchdog

  • Boone County Watchdog
  • Visit this daily reading list to follow issues in Boone County and beyond.

  • McHenry County Blog
  • Find a mix of news and opinion in the public interest with emphasis on McHenry County.

  • The Stephenson Blumdoggle
  • Anonymous blogger takes on the persona of Freeport founder Tutty Baker while reporting on local issues and government in Freeport and environs.

    State Resources: Government

  • Attorney General’s Charitable Database Search
  • Obtain financial details as well as scanned annual financial reports from public charities and private foundations going back as far as FY2003.

  • Illinois Comptroller’s Office, Local Government Division
  • Jump from this page to information about Annual Financial Reports (AFRs) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF), including access to reports from local government units. (AFRs go back to 2000, TIF Annual Reports to 2010.)

  • Illinois Secretary of State
  • This office oversees 20 departments from state archives to business services, libraries to vehicle services. Databases include registrations of corporations and historical vital statistics.

  • Illinois State Board of Elections
  • The site serves voters, candidates and committees and supports a number of searches, including campaign contribution disclosures.

  • Public University Salary and Benefits Database
  • Public Act 96-266 requires each public university and community college to regularly report salary and benefit information of president, administrators and faculty members to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

    State Resources: Watchdog

  • Better Government Association: Public Payroll
  • Searchable salary info for public officials in Illinois, including some regional and downstate municipal sources.

  • Capitol Fax
  • The “political intelligence” blog with a statewide focus, by Rich Miller.

  • Chicago Sun-Times: The Data Lounge
  • Tends to be Chicago-centric but also has statewide databases for teachers’ salaries, university salaries, state employees’ pensions, and more. Nothing older than 2007.

  • Pantagraph.com: State Employee Database
  • Searchable database lists 78,000 state employees with salary information for 2010. Excludes university employees.

  • Public Notice Illinois
  • Started in 2008, this is a newspaper-fueled database of notices of government activities that are legally required to be published. The site continues to add participant newspapers and has a goal of collecting every public notice that is published in Illinois.

    Nationwide Resources

  • Aircraft Information – Aircraft Owners, Registrations
  • Look up airplane registration information by location, individuals’ names, registration numbers and more.

  • National Police Misconduct Reporting Project
  • The Cato Institute shares credible stories of police misconduct in the U.S. with a daily roundup-style report and a searchable database.

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    Last updated November 21, 2013