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More info from that closed open gov't meeting

By Ed O'Keefe

The front cover of a PowerPoint presentation about Freedom of Information Act requests (Courtesy Justice Department)

There was some hand-wringing, confusion and bad feelings about a closed-to-the-press meeting Monday for the federal government's FOIA liaison officers, or the folks who handle Freedom of Information Act requests.

It would seem ironic that the folks tasked with helping to shed more light on government operations would need a training session behind closed doors on how to improve their services Odder still that nobody would bother to take attendance so they could provide a public record of who attended. (The Eye asked, and alas, nobody read a roll.)

Regardless, the good folks at the Justice Department's Office of Information Policy provided a copy of the PowerPoint presentation (pdf) used during Monday's training session at the Commerce Department. The document reviews some of the main responsibilities of a FOIA liaison officer, the common complaints about the FOIA requesting process and some tips on how to improve the timeliness of such requests. (Example: "Good communication with FOIA requesters is critical." Y'think?)

The document also clarifies the role of the new Office of Government Information Services, which is responsible for reviewing FOIA policies and procedures and recommending potential policy changes to Congress and the president.

"I can understand skepticism anytime a meeting for government people is not necessarily open to the public," OGIS Director Miriam Nisbet told the Associated Press. "However, everything that is discussed there is absolutely available for the public to know about." Indeed it would seem it now is.

Review the document then leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 7, 2009; 3:34 PM ET
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Typical Obama modus operandi:
A "behind closed doors" meeting
on "Open Government". Are there
any other Liberal Democrats out
there who are also sick of this
current gaggle of geese in D.C.?

Posted by: iamredwolf | December 7, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Of course to receive this list you must first file a FOIA.....

This looks like a Lean Six Sigma problem....was Nancy Killefer atthis meeting (or whomever is her replacement/representative?

Posted by: djp98374 | December 7, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

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