The D.C. Open Government Coalition testified Friday (13) against proposed budget cuts for the Office of Open Government and in favor of a separate board of directors -- steps to "stop this dramatic, rapid weakening of a vitally important transparency institution in the District." OGC Government Affairs chair Bob Becker reviewed multiple problems with the current oversight provided by the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability but only the budget came up in questions, and that only briefly. The hearing was before the Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety chaired by Charles Allen (D-Ward 6). Outgoing open government director Traci Hughes was at the witness table but got no goodbye; she did not testify and was asked no questions.
A frustrated D.C. Council in 2016 ordered a new analysis of school-by-school enrollment, growth plans and needed building upgrades. The dream -- to end years of obscure renovation decisions by writing into law the data required, the priorities to rank needs, and plenty of public participation. Results were due in fall 2017 to help with the 2019 budget now being written. A contractor begins public meetings this week to present plans for the long-stalled surveys and analysis, but a major mystery remains: will charter schools get a free pass on the transparency the Council believed essential to objectivity and credibility?