A visit to the Collin College website’s “Financial Transparency” page on Monday to look at the college’s online check register yielded a surprise: an error message.
A click on the “Check Registers” link…
returned this error message:
A call to report the problem revealed that the “error” – according to the college – was that the “Check Registers” link was still on the website at all. The link has since been removed, just as the public’s online access to the college’s check-writing history already had been.
Collin College intentionally took its check register offline because it “no longer participates in the Texas Transparency award program,” according to Financial Services IS Manager Ashfia Naheed. It seems that receiving awards, not taxpayer transparency, was the college’s motivation for making the data available.
Another search – for Collin College Board of Trustees’ contact information to ask why access to the information was taken away – turned up another surprising gap in transparency: that information wasn’t on the college website either. In fact, according to Board Secretary Shirley Harmon, these elected officials’ email addresses and phone numbers are “protected information” that the public can’t have – because trustees use private and not college-issued accounts.
Ms. Harmon did say that questions for board members could be emailed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and she would forward them, should any Collin College constituents want to contact their elected trustees.