OVERDUE: “The care and support that our nation provides to veterans merits all of the transparency and accountability the federal government can bring to bear. That’s why the absence of a new open government plan from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) over the past six years is not only an egregious flouting of President Barack Obama’s 2009 Open Government Directive, but a failure in governance that calls into question whether such plans accurately reflect the priorities and mission of agencies.
These open government plans represent one of the primary vehicles for ensuring that public commitments to open government are part of the next administration. It is more critical than ever for all agencies to not only publish them, but to deliver the progress reports and frank self-assessment that the guidance from the White House requested this summer. Veterans and the public deserve a new 2016 Open Government Plan from the VA that includes a flagship initiative to publish performance data next to customer service data from the men and women it serves.” [READ MORE]
WEEKEND READING: We’ve seen a lot of productive debate kicked off about the Freedom of Information Act and public records over the last month — and some less so. If you missed it, former law professor — and former White House official — Cass Sunstein published a discussion draft of an article arguing for “input transparency,” which Michael Morisy and many others rebutted. MySociety co-founder Tom Steinberg took up Sunstein’s gauntlet and debated him on transparency; Christopher Wilson followed on, endorsing Sunstein’s welfarist approach to the issue.
To us, the question of “what’s next” might be explored usefully not only through the prism of new technologist, open data policies, enterprise data inventories, and proactive disclosures driven by FOIA demand. It will be informed by comparisons of the components of public records laws around the United States and their effects on public knowledge and debate. We hope you’ll share your thoughts and keep letting us know what you’re reading on these topics or your reactions to events like this week’s Shorenstein forum on FOIA [Nieman Lab].
STATE AND LOCAL
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