Fighting Misinformation with Facts

by Chris Bullock

Why the 2018 word of the year is a call to action for public leaders

Download “The New Realities of Public Leadership”

In case you missed it, lexicographers at Dictionary.com recently revealed their word of the year for 2018: misinformation. According to an article announcing the designation, “misinformation” is not just one of the more highly searched terms of 2018, it’s a “call to action.” Coincidentally, it’s also the impetus behind a new ebook designed to help public leaders better educate and engage with their constituents.

So, what exactly is “misinformation” and why should you care? The online dictionary defines it as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.” And last year, the dissemination of false information achieved unprecedented global reach. In an interview with the Associated Press, Dictionary.com linguist Jane Solomon explained that, “The rampant spread of misinformation is really providing new challenges for navigating life…”

Those challenges affect us all — citizens and public leaders alike. In a video produced by Dictionary.com, a diverse panel of experts and activists weighed in on the word of the year, the implications going forward, and why it’s incumbent upon all of us to fight the propagation of false information, both online and in our daily discourse.

Edward Wasserman, dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, summed it up this way,  “Falsity has now increasingly been woven into the fabric of what political discourse looks like, which makes it harder and harder for citizens to sort out what the fact base is on which they base their judgements about policy and about social directions.”

In an age when anybody and everybody has a platform and a story to tell, it’s increasingly difficult to discern fact from fiction, or in the current vernacular, truth from “fake news.” Even news outlets pick up on false information, or at least the sentiment reacting to it.

All of this conspires to erode public trust in institutions and more specifically in government. In fact, public trust in government right now is near an all-time low. In the 60 years since the National Election Study began measuring such things, trust has been on a steady downward trajectory. According to the Pew Research Center, only 18 percent of Americans today say they trust the government to do what is right.

This new reality can be particularly daunting for public leaders — especially local leaders — looking to build consensus and support in their communities. So, how do we rebuild trust, advocate for truth, and combat the toxic spread of misinformation? In a time when perception is reality, public officials — like business owners, entrepreneurs, and even private citizens — need to step up and control their narrative.

You need to tell your story before someone else does. Building an open and transparent online presence is the first step. For public leaders, your 2019 call to action is to become a source of truth in your community by fighting the proliferation of fake news with facts.

Are you ready to kick off the new year by resolving to use data to drive discourse? ClearGov can help.

We recently partnered with Martin O’Malley — two-term mayor of Baltimore and and two-term governor of Maryland — to create a free best practices guide for civic leaders trying to navigate the new realities of governance in this age of misinformation.

Widely recognized for his innovative, data-driven approach to policy and administration, O’Malley has earned a reputation as a pragmatic and effective public leader committed to empowering fellow public servants with the tools and insights they need to better communicate, connect, and engage with their communities. To find out how you can start leveraging the power of the internet and other information technologies to drive transparency and ultimately build public trust and consensus, download The New Realities of Public Leadership now.

ClearGov: 2018 in Review

by Jena Skivington

As 2018 wraps up, we’re looking back at our year with a grateful heart and excitement for what’s to come in 2019.

ClearGov is growing rapidly, and we accomplished some pretty cool things this year. We expanded our employees, helped hundreds of communities across the country communicate and engage with their residents, spoke with thousands of municipal leaders, gave back to our own communities, and drank a boatload of water! Needless to say, it was a great year!

We’ve learned so much working with municipal leaders across the country, and can’t wait to continue building transparent, data-driven, and modern governments in 2019.

Check out this infographic that highlights some of our exciting moments this year!

cleargov-grows-rapidly-in-2018

ClearGov Expands Executive Team to Support & Accelerate Growth

by Jena Skivington

ClearGov expands executive leadership teamProven Tech Leaders, Sarah Webber (from Constant Contact) and Vartan Hagopian (from Monster and PeopleFluent) join ClearGov’s Executive Team

ClearGov, a leading provider of transparency, budgeting and forecasting solutions for local governments, announced today that two accomplished software professionals have joined the executive leadership team to support the company’s rapid growth and expansion.

New additions to the team include Sarah Webber, VP of Client Success and Vartan Hagopian, VP of Sales.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have both Sarah and Vartan on our executive team at ClearGov,” said Bryan Burdick, President and Co-Founder of ClearGov. “ClearGov has seen rapid growth over the last two years and is poised to accelerate this trajectory in 2019. Sarah brings a proven track record and expertise in scaling a client success team, and I am confident she will ensure every ClearGov customer has a tremendous experience working with us. Vartan has successfully led software sales teams of all shapes and sizes, and he knows how to drive rapid growth. Best of all, both Vartan and Sarah share our common vision of what it takes to build a high-performing, positive company culture, so I am confident they will continue to attract and hire top-notch talent as ClearGov continues to grow.”

Sarah Webber has over 20 years of experience in strategic leadership roles with a core focus on driving client satisfaction and success in order to build lasting relationships and increase retention. Sarah brings a unique set of leadership skills to ClearGov and is dedicated to creating a service environment that drives immediate impact and long-term value for ClearGov clients. Sarah specializes in mentoring and building a client success organization that will delight ClearGov customers and exceed their expectations.

“I am profoundly impressed by ClearGov’s mission to build a community of transparent, data-driven, modern governments,” said Sarah Webber, VP of Client Success. “It is both personally and professionally rewarding to work with a company that is truly making a difference. Helping to make democracy work better – especially at the local level – has significant, positive impact for everyone involved.”

Vartan Hagopian is a proven sales leader with over 20 years of experience in SMB and enterprise sales. Vartan’s experience in developing and implementing sales strategies that drive company revenue goals will be critical in attaining ClearGov’s long-term growth strategy. Vartan specializes in building and scaling sales teams and using data to identify areas of improvement and drive strategic direction. He is a developer of people and high-performing sales organizations.

“I am excited to join an incredible team that has already built a thriving business,” said Vartan Hagopian, VP of Sales. “ClearGov has produced cutting edge technology to make municipal organizations significantly more efficient. I’m excited to bring these timely data solutions to local governments nationwide.”

ClearGov is a leader in government transparency, benchmarking, and budgeting solutions and works with hundreds of local governments and school districts in 20 states across the country. The Massachusetts based startup recently raised a round of seed capital and has consistently grown their customer base 250% year-over-year. ClearGov’s mission is to build a community of transparent, data-driven, modern governments.

To learn more about ClearGov visit www.cleargov.com.

About ClearGov

ClearGov is building a community of transparent, data-driven, modern governments. ClearGov drives this mission by offering a suite of SaaS solutions for town, cities, schools and other municipal entities that includes transparency, benchmarking, budgeting and forecasting solutions. ClearGov’s award-winning platform is utilized by hundreds of communities across twenty different states.

PRESS CONTACT:

Jena Skivington

585.507.5733

jskivington@cleargov.com

ClearGov Makes Top 25 List for Best Companies for Perks & Benefits Through Comparably

by Chris Bullock

ClearGov is honored to be in the top 25 for the Comparably Award for Best Companies for Perks & Benefits! We pride ourselves on fostering a company culture, that promotes a work hard, play hard attitude. 

ClearGov’s story started in 2015 when serial entrepreneur, Chris Bullock, had a simple question – “where do my tax dollars go?” What started as a question, has turned this startup into a million dollar business who prides itself on creating a community of more informed, data-driven and modern government entities.

ClearGov is dedicated to creating an exceptional culture for their employees that promotes the same values as our product lineup – transparent and accountable leadership. Our company was founded upon these six core values; be clear, be trustworthy, be considerate, be positive, be better, and be fun. 

We also make sure to provide benefits for our team that keeps them motivated and excited to be part of this community. Core benefits include competitive pay, medical, dental, vision, 401K, life insurance, and an unlimited vacation policy.

Added perks include access to a free gym, indoor putting green (and putting competitions, of course!), company sponsored happy hours, free parking, monthly events, quarterly team outings, chili cook-offs, salsa making competitions, and even a company-wide day of service.

At ClearGov, we work hard and play hard. Our team members are a vital part of this community that continues to drive this company’s rapid growth.

To learn more about open positions at ClearGov, click here! Or check out our team’s Instagram feed, @cleargov.  

Innovative Platform Modernizes the Budget Process for Local Governments and School Districts

by Chris Bullock

modern government budgetingClearGov launches new budgeting and forecasting solution to compliment transparency platform.

Maynard, MA (9/20/18) – ClearGov, a leader in municipal technology, announced today a new product that streamlines the budget-building process for local governments and school districts and allows them to more accurately and easily forecast expenses and funding. Designed in collaboration with existing ClearGov customers, the sophisticated, yet simple platform was built in response to the ever-evolving demands of the public sector to enhance antiquated systems and drive efficiencies.

ClearGov BudgetsTM allows municipal officials to quickly and easily create, share and review their budget via a web-based portal. Innovative collaboration tools give administrators the ability to easily communicate with department heads on budget requests; accept or deny requests; and manage and track feedback. The platform gives internal stakeholders more visibility into the entire budgeting process; saves time and effort; and mitigates the human error that can happen when trying to collaborate across multiple spreadsheets.

Additionally, ClearGov BudgetsTM includes a sophisticated forecasting tool that allows local municipalities to gain a clearer picture of future expenses and funding in order to make more informed budgetary decisions. The forecasting tool goes beyond traditional regression-based forecast analyses by utilizing a type of neural network used in deep learning systems, to automatically generate accurate forecasts based on current and historical internal budget models.

ClearGov BudgetsTM also features a digital audit trail that is automatically created and updated whenever changes are made to the budget; the ability to create and export reports for print or digital budget books; and a document repository that enables users to easily access any supporting documentation for individual budgetary line items.

“Our clients have consistently expressed how much time and frustration can be involved in their budgeting process,” said Chris Bullock, CEO at ClearGov. “We worked closely with our clients to develop a solution that is simple and easy to use, yet flexible enough to fit their process and powerful enough to meet and exceed the needs of all sizes of municipalities.”

ClearGov is a leader in government transparency and benchmarking solutions and works with hundreds of local governments and school districts in 20 states across the country. The Massachusetts based startup recently raised a round of seed capital and has consistently grown their customer base 350% year-over-year. The addition of BudgetsTM to ClearGov’s suite of innovative municipal solutions is the next step in ClearGov’s mission to build a community of transparent, data-driven, modern governments.

“As a client-focused company, it is our responsibility to listen and take action when we uncover a real need,” said Sarah Webber, VP of Client Success at ClearGov. “Feedback from the BudgetsTM pilot group has been very positive and I couldn’t be more proud that ClearGov has found another way to truly help democracy work better.”

To explore ClearGov’s local government budgeting dashboard visit www.cleargov.com.

 

About ClearGov

ClearGov is building a community of transparent, data-driven, modern governments. ClearGov drives this mission by offering a suite of SaaS solutions for town, cities, schools and other municipal entities that includes transparency, benchmarking, budgeting and forecasting solutions. ClearGov’s award-winning platform is utilized by hundreds of communities across twenty different states.

PRESS CONTACT:

Jena Skivington

585.507.5733

jskivington@cleargov.com

ClearGov and eSchoolView Announce Strategic Partnership

by Chris Bullock

eSchoolView to Offer Fiscal Transparency Module Powered by ClearGov

Maynard, MA (9/12/18) – ClearGov, a leading municipal and school district transparency, and benchmarking platform, announced today a strategic partnership with eSchoolView, an award-winning education website provider. The partnership will enable eSchoolView clients to integrate a financial transparency dashboard seamlessly within their district’s website to offer citizens more accessible budgetary figures and student performance metrics.

“ClearGov is the leader in local government transparency and benchmarking,” remarked Michael Maloney, Vice President of Business Development for eSchoolView. “We are excited to offer the ClearGov platform as an additional service for eSchoolView clients as we continually strive to bring state-of-the-art websites and promote communication within the communities our clients represent.”

ClearGov specializes in transforming government-sourced financial and demographic data into easy-to-understand infographic profiles. Hundreds of local government agencies and school districts across the U.S. leverage the ClearGov platform to increase transparency and gain financial insights through the company’s sophisticated benchmarking tools.

As part of the partnership agreement, eSchoolView customers will have access to a module for their financial transparency and student performance dashboard that can be embedded directly on their district’s website. These dashboards will provide citizens with a clear picture of their district’s budget and key performance metrics.

“eSchoolView has established itself as a leading provider of custom websites for school districts that are easy to manage and update,” said Bryan Burdick, President of ClearGov. “We are excited to partner with eSchoolView to help their clients more effectively engage with their citizens and drive community support through transparency.”

To explore ClearGov’s local government transparency and benchmarking platform visit http://www.cleargov.com.

 

About ClearGov

ClearGov is building a community of transparent, data-driven modern governments. ClearGov transforms municipal and school district financial statements into accessible, easy-to-understand infographics to help citizens better understand how their tax dollars are being put to use.  School districts use ClearGov’s SaaS solutions to reduce operational inefficiencies, manage their budget process and improve communication with citizens.

About eSchoolView

Founded in 2008, eSchoolView offers award-winning, customized websites to educational organizations. Beyond the easy to use Content Managements System (CMS), eSchoolView offers a wide array of tools to enhance communications between schools and the communities they are in. As a company, eSchoolView has been ranked on the Inc. 5000th list the last four consecutive years and has won numerous awards for educational websites.  

 

PRESS CONTACT:

Jena Skivington

585.507.5733

jskivington@cleargov.com

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Government Transparency Startup Raises $2.25M in Seed Funding

by Chris Bullock

Seed Round to Fuel Sales Growth, New Product Development and Client Services Expansion

Maynard, MA (5/31/18) – ClearGov, a leading municipal transparency and benchmarking platform, announced it has raised an additional $2.25M through a second seed round of financing bringing the total raised to $3.75M.  The oversubscribed round was lead by new investments from Launch Capital, Riverpark Ventures and Hub Angels, along with current investors Kepha Partners and MassVentures both increasing their stake in ClearGov.

“We are thrilled by the support we’ve had from our initial investors and excited to bring new investors onto the ClearGov team as well,” said Bryan Burdick, President of ClearGov.  “The response that we’ve had from the market has been tremendous, so we are ready to put this additional capital to work to scale our team and continue our mission to help local governments be more efficient and effective.”

ClearGov provides local governments and school districts with an online platform to better communicate complex financials in an easy-to-understand, infographic format.  The platform is now used by more than 400 municipalities across 16 states to drive trust and support through enhanced transparency. ClearGov also provides tools to help municipalities compare financial performance against similar communities to better inform budgetary decisions.

Following 400+% YoY growth in 2017, ClearGov will use the funding to fuel sales team and client services growth, as well as expand the executive leadership team.  The funding will also be used to bring key new products to market over the next twelve months.

“The public is increasingly demanding accountability and transparency from our government agencies, so we feel that ClearGov is offering an incredibly timely solution,” said Eric Hjerpe of Kepha Partners.  “We were impressed with traction the team was able to generate after the first seed round and are excited to continue to support their growth and product expansion.”

As part of the latest round, ClearGov has also named Bill McCullen of Launch Capital to its Board of Directors.

“ClearGov’s mission to help government leaders make better, data-driven decisions is powerful,” said Bill McCullen of Launch Capital.  “With their innovative market approach and proven team we believe that ClearGov can have a significant impact on how local governments engage and serve their constituents.”

To explore ClearGov’s local government transparency and benchmarking platform visit http://www.cleargov.com.

About ClearGov

ClearGov transforms city and town financial statements into accessible, easy-to-understand infographics to help citizens better understand how their tax dollars are being put to use.  Local governments use ClearGov’s SaaS solutions to reduce operational inefficiencies, make informed budgetary decisions and improve communication with citizens.

PRESS CONTACT:

Jena Skivington

585.507.5733

jskivington@cleargov.com

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ClearGov Launches Artificial Intelligence Platform to Compare Local Government Finances

by Chris Bullock

Machine Learning Automatically Standardizes Municipal Accounting to Enable Peer-to-Peer Benchmarking

Maynard, MA (5/8/18) – ClearGov, a leading municipal transparency and benchmarking platform, today announced an artificial intelligence platform to more accurately and automatically compare finances across municipalities.  The new technology helps local governments benchmark spending and funding across a state and national standardized chart of accounts developed by ClearGov.

“Municipalities and school districts will often look to compare finances against similar agencies as a way to identify opportunities to be more efficient with taxpayer dollars. Yet the task of benchmarking municipal finances is made difficult by the lack of a standardized accounting structure across municipalities,” said Chris Bullock, CEO of ClearGov.  “For example, one town may categorize an expenditure such as ‘Maintenance of Town Hall’ as a function of Public Works, whereas another town may categorize the same spending under Parks & Recreation.  Without a standardized accounting structure, comparing municipal finances is a challenging, if not futile exercise.”

In response to this problem, ClearGov has developed an artificial intelligence platform that can ingest government agencies’ raw accounting data and automatically translate it into a standardized chart of accounts.  The platform analyzes many elements of the accounting data, including accounting ID structures and line-item keywords, to accurately restructure the data.  By automatically placing similar accounting line items in like categories, the system produces truer “apples to apples” financial comparisons across municipalities.

Government clients of ClearGov’s Insights platform can utilize this standardized accounting structure in a series of custom benchmarking and analytical tools. For example, the platform can inform a town how its spending on “Snow & Ice Removal” compares to other towns with similar road miles in a given proximity.  The peer-to-peer comparisons are also utilized in a public-facing transparency profile to provide context that help bring a town’s financials to life for everyone in the community.

“We believe benchmarking our budget against other towns is important because it allows us to better understand and communicate our own spending in context, but this has been near impossible since every town categorizes their spending differently,” said John Frye, Financial Services Director of the Village of Pinehurst, NC.  “ClearGov’s standardized municipal financial database and budget comparison tools have afforded us a viable means to benchmark our finances against relevant communities”

ClearGov’s new artificial intelligence platform also dramatically reduces the time needed to onboard new clients’ data on to its transparency and benchmarking platform.  A process that was measured in days now takes minutes to analyze and categorize new clients’ data allowing clients to get up and running quickly.

To explore ClearGov’s local government transparency and benchmarking platform visit http://www.cleargov.com.

About ClearGov

ClearGov transforms city and town financial statements into accessible, easy-to-understand infographics to help citizens better understand how their tax dollars are being put to use.  Local governments use ClearGov’s SaaS solutions to reduce operational inefficiencies, make informed budgetary decisions and improve communication with citizens.

 

PRESS CONTACT:

Jena Skivington

585.507.5733

jskivington@cleargov.com

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ClearGov and Virtual Towns & Schools Announce Strategic Partnership

by Jena Skivington

Virtual Towns & Schools to Offer Fiscal Transparency Module Powered by ClearGov

Maynard, MA (3/21/18) – ClearGov, a leading municipal transparency and benchmarking platform, announced today a strategic partnership with Virtual Towns & Schools (VTS), a leading municipal website provider.  The partnership will enable VTS clients to embed fiscal transparency profiles seamlessly within their municipal websites to offer residents more accessible and digestible budgetary figures.

“Fiscal transparency is top of mind for towns and school districts, but communicating complex financials to residents is a challenge,” said Millard Rose, President of VTS. “ClearGov has created a turnkey plug-in for our clients that communicates their budget in a simple, digital format that everyone can understand.”

ClearGov specializes in transforming government-sourced financial and demographic data into easy-to-understand infographic profiles.  Hundreds of local government agencies leverage the ClearGov platform to increase transparency and gain financial insights through the company’s sophisticated municipal benchmarking tools.

As part of the partnership agreement, ClearGov has created financial transparency dashboards that can be embedded in VTS clients’ websites.  The Town of North Attleborough, MA is the first municipality to integrate a “Fiscal Transparency Center” powered by ClearGov on its VTS website, which can be explored here.

Additionally, VTS clients that claim their ClearGov profile will have access to expanded features, including additional demographic metrics and tax bill customization.

“Virtual Towns & Schools has established itself as the leading provider of turnkey government websites in the Northeast,” said Bryan Burdick, President of ClearGov. “We are excited to partner with VTS to help our mutual customers more effectively engage with their citizens and drive community support.”

To explore ClearGov’s local government transparency and benchmarking platform visit http://www.cleargov.com.  To explore Virtual Towns & Schools services visit https://www.vt-s.net.

 

About ClearGov

ClearGov transforms city and town financial statements into accessible, easy-to-understand infographics to help citizens better understand how their tax dollars are being put to use.  Local governments use ClearGov’s SaaS solutions to reduce operational inefficiencies, make informed budgetary decisions and improve communication with citizens.

About Virtual Towns & Schools

Virtual Towns & Schools’ websites support 600+ clients with a wide variety of populations and needs – including special districts and agencies.  2017 was VTS’s 7th straight year of record new contract growth and it’s award winning Drupal based CMS provides an extensive list of features and responsive design.

PRESS CONTACTS:

Jena Skivington

585.507.5733

jskivington@cleargov.com

 

Millard Rose

978.461.5848

mrose@vt-s.net

ClearGov Recognized Among New England’s Top Innovators

by Chris Bullock

We are excited to announce that ClearGov has been nominated for the 2018 New England Innovation Awards.  Established in 1986 by the New England Business Association, the Innovation Awards recognize those companies that have transformed their innovative ideas into a product or service that delivers proven value to customers.  The Program has recognized almost 200 companies from a wide variety of companies in fields such as technology, manufacturing, service, non-profit, and retail/distribution.

“ClearGov prides itself on providing innovative solutions that help local government agencies better leverage data to become more effective and efficient,” said Chris Bullock, CEO of ClearGov.  “So, we are especially honored to be chosen for consideration for this prestigious award.”

The New England Business Association has selected 200 local companies for consideration and will be announcing 20 finalists on mid-April.  The 20 Finalists will each have 3 minutes to present to the entire group of judges, our Partners, our Board members, and other invited guests.  The Gala Awards Presentation and Dinner will be held in early May where the winners will be announced at a formal dinner presentation.