The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit http://foiadvocate.blogspot.com/.
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January 12, 2012 4:44 PM

From The Voice of OC:

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait directed city officials Tuesday night to review the city's records policy for compliance with federal and state laws and to recommend improvements to the policy by next City Council meeting.

[...]

Tait's directive comes after Voice of OC published memos from supervisors in the city's planning and code enforcement departments ordering employees to destroy emails and other correspondence or face "disciplinary action."

January 12, 2012 4:32 PM

From KOMONEWS.com:

SEATTLE -- Are Seattle police willing to take a hard look at themselves?

[...]

KOMO News first broke the story last week when the city sued James Egan. The attorney now says he is giving the city a chance to prove its good intentions about police transparency. But it's a test he expects the city to fail. 

January 12, 2012 4:23 PM

From Mercer Island Reporter:

The number of public records requests made to the City of Mercer Island (Wa.) went down this past year. But the cost of handling them was still substantial.

[...]

“About 30 percent of my time in the first 11 months of 2011, was spent on records requests. City Clerk Ali Spietz said.

January 12, 2012 1:43 PM

State Attorney General Scott Pruitt has written a letter to the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police about complaints that police departments are violating the Open Records Act by withholding public information from initial incident reports.

“The state Legislature has made it clear in this regard that a police department's initial offense report or cover sheet should be open for public inspection, regardless of its inclusion in an investigation file,” Pruitt wrote in his Jan. 4 letter.

January 12, 2012 1:38 PM

From The West Virginia Record:

HUNTINGTON - A freelance journalist is asking a judge to compel release of the death certificate of a woman who died at the hands of a former Mason County physician with a long history of malpractice.

[...]

In his complaint filed Dec. 19 in Cabell Circuit Court, [Jay Lawrence] Smith, a regular contributor to The West Virginia Record, is seeking an order compelling the release of the death certificate of Helen Zielger, who until her death in 2000, was a patient of Dr. Jack M. Levine.

January 11, 2012 4:54 PM

From Josh Gerstein at Politico:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was wrong to categorically withhold all records of a corruption probe of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Acting in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler said that while records of probes of private individuals are regularly withheld as a categorical matter, investigations into public officials should not be treated the same way. In addition, she rejected the Justice Department's arguments that the only reason to grant CREW's request would be if there was evidence of impropriety on the part of the federal agency that conducted the probe, in this instance, the FBI.

January 11, 2012 4:49 PM

From CNN Security Clearance Blog:

A legal group filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on Monday asking that videotapes showing the interrogation of a terror detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be made public.

The suit filed [by the Center for Constitutional Rights] in the Southern District of New York is focused on interrogation techniques used on Mohammed al-Qahtani, a man U.S. authorities have said was intended to be the 20th hijacker in the 9/11 terror attacks.

January 11, 2012 4:44 PM

From The Daily Cortlandt:

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The agendas and supporting documents for most government meetings will have to be posted online at least a day in advance, according to a bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law last week, as an amendment to New York’s Open Meetings laws.

Despite the new amendment being what Abraham Zambrano, Croton Village Manager, calls an “unfunded mandate,” he said he believes the law will help the public become more informed. “Whatever way we can get this to the public, I think helps us,” he said.

January 11, 2012 4:40 PM

From OMB Watch:

The fiscal year 2012 spending package signed by President Obama on Dec. 23 included some good news for government transparency and right to know. Many of the worst provisions of the bill were removed from the final compromise, but open government advocates remain concerned.

The Budget Control Act, passed to end the debt ceiling hostage crisis in August, capped total funding for fiscal year (FY) 2012, but Congress continued to struggle over specific allocations for programs and the slew of conservative policy riders attached by the House, which made compromise with the Senate difficult. To avoid a government shutdown or another stopgap spending bill, Congress had to rush to finalize the funding bill (H.R. 2055) before the holidays in a cramped and opaque process.

January 11, 2012 4:36 PM

From Herald-Tribune:

SARASOTA — A director and manager in Sarasota's Information Technology Department have been placed on paid administrative leave amid an investigation into whether city officials deleted public records and accessed secret materials tied to an ongoing federal investigation.

Chance Craig, the city IT director, and Sandra Coleman, an IT manager, were placed on leave Friday after an outside computer expert said techs had used the city email system to spy on auditors, helped delete public records and delivered emails to the city manager's office that were supposed to remain secret.

January 11, 2012 4:31 PM

From Keizertimes:

The city of Keizer has unveiled a new public records retrieval system that is touted as saving thousands of dollars and more effectively serving residents.

For years the city’s record searching system at Keizer.org required downloading and installing software before allowing users to open documents one page at a time. This proved cumbersome to users who were seeking a page out of a budget or council packet that could be hundreds of pages long. Files were downloaded in a format more common among photographers and graphic designers than city recorders and councilors.

January 10, 2012 1:29 PM

From BBC News:

The company has been consulted by the government about bringing its role in awarding qualifications under the Freedom of Information Act.

This is part of a wider debate on the blurring demarcation line between public and private responsibilities and how far a legal right for citizens to get access to information can intrude into the private sector.

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