To determine whether the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is complying with Executive Order 95 (EO 95), including providing, in a timely manner, publishable State data to the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) under EO 95, and whether data posted under EO 95 is reliable and easily usable. The audit covered the period between February 13, 2013 and October 23, 2020.
About the Program
State government entities possess large amounts of valuable information on subjects such as health, business, public safety, parks and recreation, labor, and transportation. EO 95, issued March 11, 2013, established an online Open Data Website (Open Data) for the collection and public dissemination of publishable State data maintained by covered State entities (generally, those headed by individuals appointed by the Executive). Open Data should provide ongoing “single-stop” access to publishable State data and make such data freely available in accessible formats for public use. As of March 2021, there were over 5,190 data items on Open Data.
As the steward of New York’s natural resources and environment, DEC is responsible for managing water, land, and air pollution in order to enhance the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the State and their overall economic and social well-being. As of March 2021, DEC had published 147 data items on Open Data.
- DEC has taken steps to meet the requirements of EO 95; however, certain aspects of the order have not been fully addressed. DEC was not in compliance with EO 95’s requirements regarding the qualifications of the Data Coordinator and incorporating Open Data into its ongoing core business planning and strategies. In response to our findings, DEC subsequently appointed a qualified Data Coordinator and has taken steps to incorporate Open Data into its core business functions. However, DEC did not identify the total population of State data it maintains. Therefore, there is limited assurance that DEC has provided a complete catalogue of publishable State data that it maintains or established a schedule for making the data public, as required by EO 95.
- The data DEC has posted to Open Data is generally updated timely and easily accessible. However, we found issues with 7 data sets (of 15 reviewed), mostly related to formatting and completeness with minor issues related to accuracy.
- As soon as practicable, submit to ITS and make publicly available a complete catalogue and schedule of publishable State data for addition to Open Data.
- Develop procedures to ensure data is reliable and usable.
State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Brian Reilly
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236