Virginia Coalition for Open Government

VCOG offers Sunshine Week suggestion: evaluate online meeting minutes of localities you cover

March 15-21 is Sunshine Week, and we at the Virginia Coalition for Open Government are celebrating. I will be teaching a class on FOIA at William & Mary’s continuing adult learning program, and I'll participate in a “meet up” at a Hampton Roads-area open data group.

In the past, many of you have compiled fantastic articles, series and features highlighting the importance of public records and public meetings. We thank you for your efforts.

Rhyne: Conversations lead to innovation

This is a column about conversations. 

Usually when I write about conversations, it’s within the context of public officials having them when the public isn’t present or privy to them. I take umbrage at the machinations of those who devise ways to exploit loopholes, and frown at those who would value efficiency over accountability.

But not today. The conversations I’m interested in today are the ones where citizens, government and, for lack of better term, techies, are talking to each other.

Rhyne: The public's right to select records IT wants

The proactive publication of information by government is an absolute must. In fact, the future of public records is in the increased consolidation of records and information into databases and data sets that are made freely and easily available to citizens and businesses alike. Every new piece of legislation that proposes the sharing of data about government’s performance is welcome news.

Rhyne: Talking About Public Business

There’s a phrase that gets bandied about occasionally by public officials when asked by reporters for comment about a particular matter. It’s meant as a conversation stopper; a statement against which no reasonable person could or would argue because it is meant to convey a certainty, as steadfast and unassailable as a the gaze of the Sphinx.

There are several versions of the phrase, but essentially it goes like this: