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FOIA Federal Advisory Committee Report

I am pleased to announce that the inaugural Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee, under the direction of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), submitted a final report and recommendations regarding FOIA Fees, Proactive Disclosure, and Oversight & Accountability.

The Committee’s report & their recommendations is the product of two years of hard work by the Committee to study the current FOIA landscape across the Executive Branch, to provide advice on improving FOIA administration, & to make recommendations to the Archivist of the United States.

Members of the 2014-2016 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee. From left to right: James Holzer, Mark Zaid, Ginger McCall (forner member), Brent Evitt, Larry Gottesman, Melanie Pustay, Nate Jones, David Ferriero, Lee White, Sean Moulton, Marty Michalosky, Jim Hogan, David Pritzker, Clay Johnston.

Members of the 2014-2016 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee.
From left to right: James Holzer, Mark Zaid, Ginger McCall (forner member), Brent Evitt, Larry Gottesman, Melanie Pustay, Nate Jones, David Ferriero, Lee White, Sean Moulton, Marty Michalosky, Jim Hogan, David Pritzker, Clay Johnson.

OGIS provides leadership, administrative and logistical support for the FOIA Advisory Committee. Director James Holzer serves as the Committee’s Chair, & a member of the OGIS staff acts as the Committee’s Designated Federal Officer (DFO).

Much of the Committee’s work was done by its three subcommittees: FOIA Fees, Oversight & Accountability, & Proactive Disclosures. The DFO attended all of the subcommittees’ meetings & was included on all correspondence between members. OGIS staff also ushered the Fees & Oversight & Accountability Subcommittees through the process necessary to gather new information from agency FOIA professionals about how fees are used & the role of FOIA Public Liaisons. This information improved Committee members’ & public understanding of the issues, and influenced its recommendations.

The Committee prepared this report prior to the final meeting of the 2014 – 2016 term of the Committee, & documents all of the work done by the Committee over its two year term. The report also includes background on the Committee’s creation, summaries of the Committee’s quarterly meetings, & a summary of the work undertaken by the Fees, Oversight & Accountability, & Proactive Disclosures Subcommittees. Far from an end result, Director Holzer intends to use the report as a starting point for the next term of the Committee. The Committee is accepting comments on the recommendation and on the Committee’s Final Report. Please direct all comments to: foia-advisory-committee@nara.gov

The Committee’s development of a consensus recommendation is an important milestone: it shows that agencies and requesters can work together to improve the FOIA process. The Committee’s unanimous decision to send forward its first recommendation to the Archivist is also a testament to the importance of transparency, participation, & collaboration.

This report reflects the Committee’s thoughtful & thorough work on this important topic, & I will want to thank Director Holzer, the Office of Government Information Services, & the entire FOIA Advisory Committee for their hard work & dedication to this important topic.

Source: aotus.blogs.archives.gov

Updated: April 21, 2016 — 8:26 pm

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