This group aggregates news and information about the Open Government Directive and the Open Government organization in the White House.
June 11, 2009 at 11:47 am #73801
OGIS == Office of Government Information Services
Today, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced the appointment of Miriam Nisbet as the director of the newly established Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). This long-awaited appointment is welcome news. OGIS is now a leap closer to coming into full operation.
Nisbet enters the position coming from UNESCO’s Information for All Program. Nisbet served as the legislative counsel for the American Library Association from 1999-2007. Prior to that, she was the Deputy Director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information Privacy.
OGIS was established under the 2007 OPEN Government Act. Its purpose is to provide policy guidance and meditation on FOIA activities across the federal government. OGIS will also review and evaluate agency FOIA compliance.
Although passed in 2007, the office has already had a controversial history. In February 2008, former President George W. Bush attempted to bury a provision in the 2009 fiscal budget proposal that would move the functions of OGIS to the Justice Department. The very office that the administration had instructed to defend agency assertions of secrecy was to mediate disputes on FOIA. Fortunately, the administration’s attempt to rewrite law using the budget process was not successful and OGIS was restored to NARA, often seen as an independent arbitrator distanced from the White House.
National Archives Appoints Miriam Nisbet as Director of the Office of Government Information Services
Washington, DC…Acting Archivist of the United States Adrienne Thomas announced today the appointment of Miriam Nisbet as the director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) within the National Archives and Records Administration. OGIS, an organization newly established under the OPEN Government Act of 2007, will provide policy guidance and mediation services for FOIA activities government-wide.
In making the announcement, Archivist Thomas said, “Ms. Nisbet is a devoted public servant who is uniquely qualified for this position. She has dedicated her entire professional life to working for open access to government records from the perspective of both the federal government and non-governmental institutions, as well as the international community. We are also delighted to welcome her back to the Archives, where she was Special Counsel for Information Policy in the 1990’s.”
“I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to be part of a new office and a new approach to make the Freedom of Information Act work better, for the requesters who seek access to records and for the Federal officials who administer the law,” said Ms. Nisbet.
Since 2007, Ms. Nisbet has been Director of the Information Society Division of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), located in Paris. She is responsible for two major UNESCO programs: Information for All and Memory of the World. Her division also supports libraries and archives, particularly in developing countries, and promotes the use of information and communication technologies for education, science, culture and development.
Prior to her UNESCO appointment, Ms. Nisbet was the legislative counsel at the American Library Association where she was responsible for intellectual property issues raised by the digital information environment. She advised the association on legislation in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, and advocated on behalf of libraries, educational institutions and the public in such matters.
As Special Counsel for Information Policy at the National Archives from 1994 to 1999, Ms. Nisbet advised the Archivist of the United States and other Archives and Federal agency officials on legal issues concerning the Federal Records Act, the presidential Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Privacy Act, among others. She assessed, developed, and implemented policy and guidance regarding access to and management of government information and records including electronic records.
In 1982 Ms. Nisbet was appointed Deputy Director of the Office Information and Privacy at the Department of Justice, where she was responsible for final action on whether Justice Department records could be opened under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act. She also provided training and guidance on FOIA interpretation, policy and administration.
Ms. Nisbet is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and was awarded a J.D. from the University of North Carolina as well.
About the Office of Government Information Services
The OGIS Director is responsible for reviewing policies and procedures of administrative agencies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); reviewing compliance with FOIA by administrative agencies; and recommending policy changes to Congress and the President to improve the administration of FOIA. The Director also is responsible for offering mediation services to resolve disputes between persons making FOIA requests and administrative agencies, and may issue advisory opinions if mediation has not resolved the dispute.
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