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Justin Marsico: Public servants advancing the public good

April 24, 2024
Advancing the public good: Steady and true


Justin Marsico

MPP/MAE ’10 
Assistant commissioner and chief data officer at the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service 
Years in government: 14

Justin Marsico and his team created “Your Guide to America’s Finances,” an easy-to-understand explainer on the federal government’s revenue, spending, deficit, and debt. He also oversees, a website that includes information about every federal contract, grant, or loan that is made to companies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. People can search for information by geographic area or look across programs to understand investments in different policy areas.  

Financial transparency: Financial transparency sounds like a very technical subject, but what the Treasury does in this area actually originates in the U.S. Constitution. The word “Treasury” only appears three times in the text itself, and one of those includes a call to make financial information about the government available to the public. Having fought a war related to taxation, (the founders) created a government that is accountable to the people through representation (and) also through financial transparency. We take this mandate very seriously today, and we also know that it’s not enough to just put financial data out there and hope it will be used and understood. We attempt to take the next step of making it comprehensible by adding context, narrative, and intuitive visualizations. We want Americans to walk away from using one of our products feeling a little more connected to our democracy, having a little more trust in the Treasury, and feeling more knowledgeable about public finance.  

The project of democracy: I think that the job that we do as civil servants is fundamental to the long-term success of our government and our country. I hope that students today will feel motivated to join our ranks! I’ve been a civil servant for over a decade but still feel inspired because working in government allows me to play a role in the project of our democracy. It also gives me the opportunity to be an ambassador from the government to people I meet. We can help to restore trust in our institutions by improving the services we provide, but we can also do that by being visible, accessible representatives who are open about our challenges and willing to work hard to make government work for the people.

Advancing the public good: Steady and true

More in State & Hill

Below, find the full, formatted spring 2024 edition of State & Hill. Click here to return to the spring 2024 S&H homepage.