Three-year contract is intended to provide stability, continuous support to members
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 20, 2021
Contact: Todd Fettig, NFOIC executive director
Phone: 352-294-7082 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Freedom of Information Coalition will hire the Virginia Coalition for Open Government to handle the NFOIC’s administrative duties, including collecting dues and donations, planning the annual FOI Summit, and managing the Knight FOI Litigation Fund.
The NFOIC Board voted Monday, Dec. 13, to award a three-year contract to VCOG, an NFOIC-member organization with a 25-year history of educating and advocating for open government and transparency. Starting July 1, 2022, the NFOIC will pay VCOG $10,000 annually for administrative support services.
NFOIC Board members expressed confidence in VCOG’s ability to provide quality and continuous support to the NFOIC, to NFOIC’s network of state and local member organizations, and to other stakeholders. The move is intended to provide operational stability for years to come, regardless of any possible changes to NFOIC funding or staff.
“This decision provides a solid foundation for the NFOIC, allowing it to work alongside one of its most-established state coalitions and benefit from shared services, equipment and processes,” said Todd Fettig, NFOIC executive director. “Like most any organization in these historic times, the NFOIC must find new ways to work efficiently and effectively, while staying true to its mission and meeting the needs of its members. This agreement accomplishes all of that.”
The National Freedom of Information Coalition’s 12-member Board of Directors will continue to guide the NFOIC and its staff. The new agreement will shift administrative responsibilities and technical support that had been handled either by NFOIC staff or the University of Florida under the NFOIC’s 2018 partnership agreement with the university’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information. NFOIC will continue to look for opportunities for collaboration and partnership with the Brechner Center on research and other substantive matters.
NFOIC members may notice some administrative functions transitioning to VCOG before the July 1, 2022, inception of the contract. Fettig said NFOIC members should expect a smooth transition of the administrative functions, and that initial conversations with VCOG’s Executive Director, Megan Rhyne, have reinforced the strength of the agreement and the mutual benefit for both organizations.
The NFOIC in October 2021 invited its member coalitions to apply for a three-year, renewable contract for administrative support services. The Board voted 9-0 to approve VCOG’s application. Rhyne, an NFOIC Board member, recused herself from the vote and the prior discussion.
Board President David Cuillier said the move returns NFOIC to its roots, as it started with administrative support from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.
“Coalition leaders understand the needs of other coalition leaders, and this places the coalition in good hands,” Cuillier said.
The board also thanked and recognized the assistance of Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, which housed NFOIC for the past three years. Before that, the University of Missouri handled administrative support.
“The universities were outstanding allies in the organization’s history, and we do not take for granted their contribution to state-level transparency,” Cuillier said. “We hope to continue those collaborations in building new programs that aid coalitions and citizen requesters.”
The National Freedom of Information Coalition is a national 501(c)3 non-profit, nonpartisan organization of state and regional affiliates representing most states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Through its programs, services and national member network, NFOIC promotes press freedom, legislative and administrative reforms and litigation to ensure open, transparent and accessible state and local governments and public institutions.
The Virginia Coalition for Open Government was established in 1996 with more than 150 supporting news outlets, politicians, academics, professional organizations, librarians, genealogists and others. VCOG is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan non-profit organization, supported by a board of directors of up to 27 members representing the many interests of our founding directors and mentors. It has been based in Williamsburg, Virginia, since 2008.