PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s governor unveiled a new online tool Thursday designed to make it easier for residents to see contracts, state records and other government documents.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he wants the new ‘‘transparency and accountability initiative’’ to make government more open to scrutiny. He said better access to public records will boost government efficiency and integrity.
‘‘We’re going to have more transparency, more documents online, more contracts online,’’ said Chafee, an independent.
The information can be found at www.transparency.ri.gov .
Users of the site can access government contracts and state budget information and see how the state measures up to its own performance goals when it comes to public education proficiency tests, foster children and environmental regulations.
The site also makes it easier for residents and members of the media to file open records requests online.
More documents will be added as the website is expanded during the next 18 months, said state Digital Officer Thom Guertin, who helped oversee the project. Another goal is to add state court information and documents from the General Assembly, but that will require cooperation with the judicial and legislative branches.
Chafee said it’s likely that some of the information posted to the site could expose government waste or inefficiency.
‘‘There’s going to be some bad stuff and we’re going to be accountable for that,’’ he said. ‘‘In the end, it’s going to be good for state government.’’
The leader of a government watchdog group called the transparency initiative an important step in promoting open government.
‘‘We work hard to improve the public records law,’’ said Common Cause Rhode Island executive director John Marion. ‘‘Technology can be a hurdle. Anything that allows people to get access to information is helpful.’’