LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin, declaring that he is ``throwing the doors open'' on the city's finances, released millions of lines of data on city payroll, revenue and spending to the public on a new website dubbed ``ControlPanelLA.''
``The public will have, for the first time, direct and centralized access to a wealth of this data,'' Galperin said. ``And you can review it, search it, analyze it, download it, share it online anytime.''
Most of the data on ControlPanelLA was previously only accessible to a limited group of city officials and includes detailed payroll information for nearly 50,000 city employees, payments to hundreds of outside vendors, and city revenue from various sources such as parking tickets and dog license fees.
The website, which can be accessed at https://controllerdata.lacity.org/, was developed by Socrata, a government data software company based in
ControlPanelLA gives Angelenos the ability to delve into financial information in minute detail, including looking up city employees' actual pay by quarter, and a ``checkbook'' section showing individual payments made out to contractors and vendors.
The information can be organized as pie charts or line graphs that allow site users to rank and compare data. According to the website, the city's top expenditure for outside vendors since June 2011 was on lawsuits and legal settlements, which came to $108.7 million.
Galperin said he hopes to continue adding to the website and is working with City Attorney Mike Feuer to obtain the ``legal go-ahead'' to release specific information about lawsuits and settlements.
The city's financial data can be downloaded through the site, a feature that civic engagement strategist Catherine Geanuracos said could prove exciting for software and applications developers in Los Angeles.
``Most other cities are further ahead than we are on this process ... but we're catching up really quickly,'' she said. ``My hope is that L.A. leapfrogs ahead, takes the benefit of all the learning that's happened in other major cities and applies it here,'' said Geanuracos, who organized this year's ``Hack for LA.''
The hack-a-thon event brings together the public, entrepreneurs and software developers to create applications to solve ``civic'' challenges. A winning app from the latest event can be used to alert its users to employment opportunities in their vicinity, according to the Hack for LA website.
Developers will be able to incorporate the information released by Galperin today at their next hack-a-thon in December, she said.
``Our last event, we created about 40 different apps, and I can't wait to see what our developers does with this information,'' she said. ``We see a lot of new ways with fooling around with this data.''
Mayor Eric Garcetti -- who earlier this month also unveiled a data- driven website measuring the performance of city departments -- hailed Galperin's website.
``This data is not our data. It's the public's data,'' he said. ``The more tools we give to people to look at data, to track important measures, the more power they will have to control the direction of their city government.''
An hour after Galperin unveiled the site, social media users had already begun digging into the data and sharing nuggets. Twitter blogger ``HLP90042,'' who posts updates about Highland Park, observed that the data from the site shows 622 city employees with higher salaries than the mayor, who makes $200,568.58 annually.
Photos: Control Panel LA