(Photo by Flickr user Tommy Wells, used under a Creative Commons license)
The D.C. Open Government Coalition on Wednesday unveiled a series of proposals to improve transparency and data accessibility in local government.
The coalition delivered its Open Government Action Plan to Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser, Attorney General-elect Karl Racine and the incoming Council members.
The transition presents opportunities to build on some of Mayor Gray’s late-coming open government initiatives — and then some, said DCOGC president Kevin Goldberg.
“Mayor[-elect] Bowser can really go not only on that,” he said, referring to Gray’s appointment of an Open Government Advisory Group in October. “But some things that Mayor Gray didn’t do.”
Goldberg added that the coalition’s proposals for open data are perhaps the most promising. “D.C. obviously is a very fertile ground for technology, for production of and use of open data,” he said.
The recommendations are five-fold:
- A new transparency initiative from Bowser, which should for one declare that “disclosure is the default.”
- Strengthening the Office of Open Government, which is run by a staff of two — including director Traci L. Hughes — by increasing its budget and executive authority.
- Strengthening the Freedom of Information Act by modifying how it is enforced through legislative action.
- Modifying the Open Meetings Act to place ANCs under its purview and give the law more teeth.
- Making the district a leader in open data by making sure to implement Mayor Vincent Gray’s July Transparency, Open Government and Open Data directive (PDF), by ensuring the fledgling Open Government Advisory Group stands the test of transition among other measures.
The coalition also suggests the new administration improve on D.C.’s open data approach by producing the following:
- An Open Innovation Fund for civic tech projects
- Community outreach campaigns to prioritize the most needed open data projects
- An Open Data Roadmap to evaluate the progress of Gray’s open government directive
- An open data engagement platforms incorporate constituents in new open government initiatives
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