Tuesday, January 02, 2007

FOI Audit Not Just for Sunshine Week

RICHMOND--- Usually around the month of March, newspapers around the country publish articles and editorials on the topic open government and fredom of information.

This week, the Richmond Times-Dispatch is running results of a Freedom of Information Audit of Virginia's 142 cities and counties.

The articles are part of a four-day series, OPEN & SHUT, that started on New Year's Eve and concludes tomorrow (January 3, 2007).

Today's article focused on the area where reponses were most problematic- official business conducted via e-mail.

A few years ago, I was part of a similar test spearheaded by the Alabama Coalition for Open Government (ALACOG).

Each state has different laws. Here in the Old Dominion, the Freedom of Information Act dictates what documents are to be made available.

The Virginia Coalition's Web site is especially well-done and up-to-date.

The audit by reporters from 20 newspapers and the Associated Press was conducted last September.

It's refreshing to see this topic get coverage in my home state.


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