Holiday Letter from D.C. Open Government Coalition
Fritz Mulhauser | December 17, 2022 | Last modified: December 21, 2022
Coalition founder and board president, Tom Susman, sends this letter to all:
Dear Friend of Open Government:
As the New Year approaches, the D.C. Open Government Coalition thanks you for your support and commitment to enhancing the public’s access to government information and ensuring the transparency of the District of Columbia government. As with so many other worthy organizations, we are emerging from the pandemic and, fortunately, much stronger and with a keen sense of commitment and dedication to open government and transparency for the District of Columbia.
We are now planning our annual Sunshine Week Community Summit in March and other outreach activities this coming year. While looking forward to 2023, we are proud of the work of the past year in both community engagement and our presence before the D.C. Council and other governmental entities. In short, we made your and our voices heard in 2022.
Please consider these successes this past year alone:
- DCOGC began an intensive effort to broaden our outreach to the D.C. community, embarking on a series of community conversations and trainings to enable as many people as possible to learn how to ask for and receive information from the D.C. government. Several board members have participated in the sessions, which in 2022 were all held virtually and focused on issues such as asking for contracts, police records, and data about Covid-19 in the public schools. Our website now has a section with tips and video.
- Also, with pandemic restrictions easing, we expect to work with the D.C. Public Libraries during this coming year to bring our training and programs in person to many of the city’s neighborhood libraries.
- On multiple fronts, through letters, testimony, and in-person meetings, we proposed changes to both the D.C. Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act related to ANCs, Metro Transit police, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, and other bodies. We also advocated for expanding online access to D.C. court records.
- Our board members also testified more than a dozen times before D.C. Council entities, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the DC Court of Appeals in a key FOIA case, and made numerous FOIA requests and appeals, in addition to helping a variety of members of the public. And we achieved results. We secured agency direction and funding for more open government in six Council committee reports, assisted in getting Court of Appeals online records access after years of advocacy, and prevailed in several FOIA appeals, among other successes.
As with every new year, we are mindful that there still is a lot of work to do. We are confident that with your help and enhanced collaboration with others in the District’s watchdog community, we will meet the mounting challenges and have a productive year. But our board consists of all volunteers with their own full-time day jobs, and we find ourselves drawn into more and more open government challenges and opportunities each year.
The DCOGC also takes no dues — we rely solely on the generosity of people like you. Any amount you would contribute would go directly to strengthening what we do. Please consider supporting us by making a year-end donation at https://dcogc.org/donate/ or via check to DCOGC, 3901 Argyle Terrace NW, Washington, DC 20011. And keep up with open government news and our work all year via the blog; bookmark the link here.
On a personal note, I retire in January as DCOGC president, and Kirsten Mitchell, a longtime open government advocate on the federal and local levels, assumes this role. I have actively been involved with the Coalition since founding it in 2009 and will continue to remain engaged. On behalf of myself and the Coalition, we thank you for your support these many years. Together, we can bring more transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement to the District of Columbia Government.
Wishing you a happy holiday season and enjoyable New Year!
With best regards,
President, D.C. Open Government Coalition
The D.C. Open Government Coalition is exempt from federal income tax as an organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our EIN is 26-4520540.