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Government and People
GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF
|OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS||ONE JUDICIARY SQUARE
441 FOURTH STREET, N.W.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20001
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2001
|CONTACT: PEGGY ARMSTRONG
(Washington, DC) Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced the creation of a Freedom of Information Act Committee to train District employees on FOIA procedures and find new ways to disseminate information to the public. The Williams Administration will work with the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association to create and implement the plan.
"Today, we're increasing the transparency of our government and improving public access to information-an idea that has been a pillar of this administration since I took office," commented Mayor Anthony A. Williams.
On August 25, 2000, Mayor Williams issued a Mayor's Order that stated "it has been and continues to be the policy of the District Government to increase and improve the access that our citizens have to this Government's information."
At today's press conference, Councilmember Kathy Patterson announced amendments to the Freedom of Information Act of 2000 that will provide the public with greater access to information, improve the effectiveness of the current FOIA law and encourage better government responsiveness to requests for public records. The amendments will become law by April 24th.
"My own personal commitment to freedom of government information comes from my background as a newspaper journalist," said Councilmember Patterson. "I know that an open government means better government."
Joining the Mayor and Mrs. Patterson at the news conference was Jim Donahue of the Maryland, DC, Delaware Press Association. Mr. Donahue outlined the FOIA training program his organization helped to create and implement with the State of Maryland, and offered assistance to the District with its training initiative.
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Mayor's Order 2001-30
February 27, 2001
SUBJECT: Establishment - Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Committee
ORIGINATING AGENCY: Office of the Mayor
By virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the District of Columbia pursuant to section 422(2) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act of 1973, as amended, Pub. L. No. 93-198, 87 Stat. 790, D.C. Code § 1-242(2)(1999 Repl.), it is hereby ORDERED that:
There is hereby established in the government of the District of Columbia the District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act Committee hereinafter referred to as the Committee.
The Committee shall promote the development of consistent approaches to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in accordance with the purposes of the District Government Freedom Of Information Act (DCFOIA), (P.L. 90-614, title II, 82 Stat. 1204 (1968); D.C. Code § 1-1521 et seq. (1973)) assist in the development of FOIA training programs and opportunities for its members, and examine the relationship between DCFOIA and relevant confidentiality statutes, or other relevant statutes and regulations.
A. Review and understand the requirements of DCFOIA and relevant confidentiality authority.
B. Train District employees, including FOIA officers in subordinate and independent District Government agencies, to implement FOIA.
C. Enable District Government employees to apply FOIA requirements consistently.
D. Identify resources to facilitate implementation of FOIA.
E. Identify recurring FOIA and other relevant disclosure issues and formulate consistent responses.
F. Promote means of assisting the public in understanding the purposes, functions and operations of the District government without reliance on FOIA requests.
G. Recommend E-FOIA adaptations for District Government agencies, including budget submissions, computer database system changes and employee training programs.
The Committee shall:
A. Develop and issue procedures governing its overall operation.
B. Provide FOIA training to District Government employees.
C. Make recommendations, where appropriate, to promote the efficient performance of the FOIA officers within the subordinate agencies.
D. Make recommendations to promote the effective and efficient storage and retrieval of information in the possession and control of District agencies in conformity with DCFOIA requirements and deadlines.
E. Make recommendations on other (non-FOIA related) means in which to promote the dissemination of information about the operations of government that take into account the effective use of limited fiscal resources.
All FOIA Officers appointed in the agencies subordinate to the Mayor are members of the FOIA Committee. In addition, the Mayor may designate such other members as are deemed appropriate to effectuate this Order.
Members shall serve as long as they are the designated FOIA Officers in their respective agencies. The Mayor may also designate individuals to serve on the Committee as appropriate. These individuals shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor.
The Committee shall establish a monthly meeting schedule.
This Order shall become effective immediately.
ANTHONY A. WILLIAMS
ATTEST: BEVERLY D. RIVERS
SECRETARY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
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