Steering Committee Notes, 6/21/10


Summary: Patrice asked or comments for questions regarding the April 21 –  July 20 Coalition Activities Report.

  • The idea of involving the re-instituted Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) in efforts to improve electronic recording keeping was briefly discussed. ACUS should be staffed by September; if they are willing to engage on the issue will depend on the Chair’s (Paul Verkuil) priorities.
  • In light of the terrible results of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)’s survey of record keeping practices, the Archivist has set up a meeting with the CIO Council. We should ask the Archivist to also bring up the issue of permanent access to material on agency websites.
  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) expects to launch the first version of the FOIA Dashboard in September. All planned capabilities/ upgrades will be done by March 2011.
  • The re-formatted quarterly report created by coalition staff should also be shared with funders, and potential funders.

Strategic Plan

  • Proposed leaders for certain initiatives need to be approached. The possibility of asking organizations that are not currently represented on the Steering Committee to lead some initiatives was well received by everyone present.
  • The strategic plan is still too large for current staff to handle. The plan should be corrected to reflect what is achievable with current staff, and what would be achievable with additional funding for more staff.
  • Patrice will re-circulate the mock-up of the new website. The coalition should also consider a re-designed logo before the re-launch.


  • The coalition is in pretty good financial shape through the end of next year.
  • The discussion of a Funders Briefing in Northern California will be moved to the Development Sub-committee. Before planning a new briefing, the Sub-committee needs to work through if the briefing in New York City helped the coalition/ community, and, if not, why not. To be successful, the briefing must have a timely "hook."

Agenda Items

  • Discussion of Open Government Initiative. Updated results of the coalition’s open government plan audit were released on July 19. This is the last time the coalition will evaluate the plans. Currently, staff is working with Ted Smith of the Miami University – Ohio Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies and John Bertot of the University of Maryland College of Information Studies to develop metrics to measure implementation. To the greatest extent possible, staff should make sure evaluators have expertise in the agency they are evaluating.
  • Discussion of the Openness Floor, an evolving list describing minimal elements of information the public should have consistent access to across government developed by members of the openness, participation, and collaboration communities, in the context of FOIA reform and Sunshine Week.
  • Discussion of the expected imminent release of a new memo on Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
  • Discussion of the BP oil spill and efforts to organize state, local and federal efforts. The transparency issues are related to: BP; companies related to BP; state government; and the federal government. Given the on-going health and environmental effects, funders should still be interested.
  • The coalition is considering changing the Secrecy Report Card. Given the political environment, and the reality that this year’s numbers (1/4 Bush Admin and 3/4 Obama Admin are not likely to be very telling), the report needs to be re-framed. Staff believes, at the least, the report should be narrowed to include only statistics that are cited from year to year, and is open to discussing replacing the report with our work on measuring openness.

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