Steering Committee Notes, 4/27/11

 

OpenTheGovernment.org
Steering Committee Meeting
Fund for Constitutional Government – 122 Maryland Ave, NE
April 27, 2011 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Participants:
Gary Bass, Tom Blanton, Danielle Brian, Lucy Dalglish, Conrad Martin, Sean Moulton, Michael Ostrolenk, Reece Rushing, David Sobel, Anne Weismann (on phone), Patrice McDermott, and Amy Bennett.

Summary:
 Discussion of Governance Structure and Steering Committee Nominations:
·    The Steering Committee approved the replacement of Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation with John Wonderlich, and the addition of Sean Moulton of OMB Watch to the Committee.
·    Lucy Dalglish will reach out to the American Society of News Editors to determine their interest in joining the Committee, and their preference in representative.
·    David Sobel will invite Lynne Bradley of the American Library Association to join the Committee.
·    We plan to further expand the Committee in the future by one or two members at most. Patrice will recruit new coalition members from areas we feel the Committee needs representation. Additional candidates will be discussed in detail at future meetings. The Governance Structure will be revised as needed to add new members. The terms of members will be announced and current members will be contacted to assess their interest in continuing to serve on the Committee.
·    The Committee accepted a proposal to keep Gary Bass on the Committee as a founder and representative of the Bauman Foundation. The Committee feels Gary adds a great deal of institutional knowledge and leadership to the coalition, and appreciates his ability to act as an ambassador for the coalition to the funding community. Decisions on adding funders to the Committee will be made on a case-by-case basis. Gary plans to evaluate the demands on his time and his usefulness to the Committee next year.
·    The Committee approved the governance structure as amended.  The Executive Committee is abolished, language on voting is edited, and staff evaluations are clarified.
Activities Report
·    The Committee asks that in addition to the current activities report, the staff produce a short discussion of primary successes, strengths, and challenges, where we are on our goals, etc.
·    An entry on panels at the Sunshine Week Freedom Forum event that included members of the Committee should be added to the report. 
Strategic Work Plan
·    The coalition should focus on making real progress on the seven issues raised with senior White House staff following the May meeting with the President in the Oval Office. Coalition staff will circulate the list of issues to the Steering Committee so that we can prioritize and refine the list. Coalition staff also will note what groups are currently working on each of the seven issues. The emphasis will be on describing what the coalition can uniquely add to each effort, and on deciding what is practically possible to accomplish. Once that process is completed, it will be circulated to the broader coalition membership.
·    The coalition should also be aware and be ready to act on the Administration’s priorities once they become apparent.
·    The coalition should also engage on the Obama Administration’s Open Government Partnership, an international initiative to promote open government. The coalition’s role will be to act as a domestic accountability civil society organization in the United States – holding the Obama Administration’s feet to the fire on their commitments, encouraging them to do more than just re-package the work that has gone on over the past two years and to move forward on the coalition’s openness agenda. The coalition will expand or supplement the Secrecy Report Card to serve as an independent report on how well Obama is achieving his OGP commitments.
Engaging on this issue  may offer a way for the coalition to build out its capabilities and expertise. The coalition will host a reception for the civil society groups who are coming to town for the initial launch of the initiative on July 12th.
 

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