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White House gives agencies transparency to-do list



obama-window-phone-175-gt20091207Open government advocates got an early holiday gift from the White House today.

The Office of Management and Budget released the detailed directive to federal agencies on transparency that President Barack Obama called for on his second day in office.

The 11-page directive sets out specific tasks for agencies and gives them deadlines. (Despite the 2008 date on the memo, it was not issued by the Bush Administration.) It also calls for agencies to employ technology to distribute information proactively, rather than forcing requesters to file Freedom of Information Act Requests. Federal agencies process hundreds of thousands of FOIA requests each year.

From the looks of this new roadmap to transparency, federal officials will have to get busy. Among the tasks federal agencies must do within the next 45 days:

  • Publish online three “high-value” data sets that have not previously been released in an easily downloadable format and to register them on the federal information site, which currently catalogues 803 files.
  • Designate a “high-level senior official” to be accountable for spending data that is made available to the public.
  • A new working group of senior level officials will be formed to address issues of transparency and accountability.

But wait. That’s not all. The plan sets out other tasks that must be accomplished within 60 or 120 days, including developing open-government plans and building open-government Web sites.

Here’s the overall goal, as the directive puts it: “To create an unprecedented and sustained level of openness and accountability in every agency, senior leaders should strive to incorporate the values of transparency, participation, and collaboration into the ongoing work of their agency.”

Today’s memo — which actually includes the wrong date — follows a couple of dings on the administration’s transparency record. Yesterday, the Department of Justice held an open-government training for federal workers that was closed to the public. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reported late last month that Obama may extend the deadline for releasing millions of classified documents.

While the new directive has been applauded by open-government groups, the real test of transparency, they say, will be how this plan is carried out.





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One Response to “White House gives agencies transparency to-do list”

  1. Justice In DeKalb says:

    Great! Happy to hear about this “To Do” List!

    Also Excited to hear about the upcoming trip to Atlanta by the US Secretary of Education – Mr. Arne Duncan! I am sure that the students, parents, stakeholders, and constituents of Atlanta Public Schools (APS) welcome Mr. Duncan with open arms. Hopefully, during this visit to the Atlanta Public Schools, Mr. Duncan will garner some insight as to how to mend our broken school systems in the state of Georgia.

    A quick piece of advice for our US Secretary of Education – Please find time in your (already busy) schedule to visit the students/parents/employees/stakeholders/and constituents of DeKalb County. These students really need your help! The business of Education is a serious one – for it establishes the life course and future of our up & coming generation. That being said – the voiceless, powerless, helpless students of DeKalb County desperately need your support – due to the abuse of power, widespread corruption, construction fraud, mismanagement of SPLOST funds, unethical behavior, cronyism, nepotism, and lack of accountability of those in power within the DeKalb County Government and the DeKalb County School Systems such as …

    RONALD BERNARD RAMSEY, SR. – Georgia State Senator AND Director of Internal Affairs for DeKalb County School Systems

    PATRICIA ANN REID POPE (and VINCENT ANTHONY POPE) – Chief Operating Officer of Design & Construction for DeKalb County School Systems

    CRAWFORD LEWIS – Superintendent of DeKalb County School Systems

    EUGENE WALKER – Elected Board of Education Member for DeKalb County School System
    Thus far, the sitting District Attorney of DeKalb County, Gwen Keyes Fleming has NOT been of ANY ASSISTANCE due to Cronyism and the Georgia Attorney General, Thurbert E. Baker has NOT been of ANY ASSISTANCE due to Cronyism!

    Actually, it is be sincere believe that a “State of Emergency” needs to be declared for the state of Georgia due to the widespread political connections and corruption that is occurring. The only viable solution is for the US Dept of Education to totally shut down the administration offices of DeKalb County and bring in their own people to run the school system until good, honest, ethical, qualified people can be found. A case similar to this, but far less egregious, happened in 1992 or ’93 with the Compton Unified School District in California.

    Please help the students of DeKalb County get their education , Mr. Arne Duncan.

    Please stop the bleeding & help the scared, intimidated employees of DeKalb County, Mr. Arne Duncan.

    Please help the concerned but perplexed parents of DeKalb County, Mr. Arne Duncan.

    Please help Jaheem Herrera’s family of DeKalb County, Mr. Arne Duncan….(the 5th grade student who committed “Bully-Cide” due to unrelentless bullying at Dunaire Elementary School – and Crawford Lewis, Ronald Ramsey, Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore has tried to cover-up DeKalb County School Systems culpability)!

    Please feel free to contact me at for substantiating documents or additional information!