Category Archives: Alternative dispute resolution

Timing is Everything: When Does OGIS Get Involved?

Experienced FOIA requesters can attest that FOIA requests follow a well-established process: a requester submits a request; the agency responds to that request; if the requester is dissatisfied with the response, he/she submits an administrative appeal; the agency responds to … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Alternative dispute resolution, definitions and concepts, Mediation services, Ombudsman, Requests and appeals | Leave a comment

Thinking about process

When OGIS Director Miriam Nisbet opened the office in September 2009, three requests for OGIS assistance awaited her attention, yet she had no process in place for dealing with cases or any staff members to work on them. Since its … Continue reading

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Difficult Conversations, Part 2: How do we get there from here?

In last week’s post we discussed the difference between positions and interests. In brief, positions are what an angry person presents during a confrontation; interests are the secret, unmet needs that anyone in a dispute may be reluctant to share. … Continue reading

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Difficult Conversations, Part 1: Interests vs. Positions

As part of providing mediation services to resolve FOIA disputes, we OGIS staffers regularly have conversations that can be characterized as “difficult.” We listen to FOIA requesters who are furious about delays or denials. We also hear from agency FOIA … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Alternative dispute resolution, Best practices, definitions and concepts, Fees, Mediation services, Ombudsman | 3 Comments

FOIA and ADR: Will You Be My Valentine?

My name is Jean Whyte, and I serve as Director of the National Archives and Records Administration’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program.  I’ve been invited to write this guest post about the intersection of FOIA and ADR and why I … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Administative Dispute Resolution Act, Alternative dispute resolution, definitions and concepts, Mediation services, Ombudsman | 1 Comment

How to Invite a FOIA Lawsuit

In the course of our work as the FOIA Ombudsman, we regularly hear from agencies and requesters about FOIA practices that work well. We also hear about practices that don’t work as well. Too often, such problems result in legal … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Alternative dispute resolution, Best practices, definitions and concepts, FOIA Public Liaisons, Ombudsman, Plain Language | 5 Comments

A New Game Plan: Teamwork Really Works!

Throughout 2011, OGIS observed a recurring concept: Federal agencies are succeeding through internal collaboration. This “team approach” to government operations promotes efficiency, reduces redundancy, and helps an agency successfully meet its statutory mandate. One area where teamwork is particularly important … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Alternative dispute resolution, Best practices, Ombudsman, Team approach | 1 Comment

Updated OGIS Language for Agencies

As regular readers of this blog know, OGIS moved from College Park, MD, to Washington, D.C., one month ago. Our mailing address, email addresses and toll-free number remain the same, but our local telephone and fax numbers have changed. (For … Continue reading

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Happy (Belated) Birthday OGIS!

We here at OGIS were so busy earlier in September that we missed a big one: OGIS’s second birthday. That’s saying something for a team that includes some talented bakers and chocolate aficionados. Two years ago, OGIS Director Miriam Nisbet … Continue reading

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OGIS Reaches Out – Way Out

For over a year now, we at OGIS have regularly presented dispute resolution skills training sessions to FOIA professionals at various agencies. It’s been a fun, exciting effort that has given us an opportunity to meet FOIA professionals from all … Continue reading

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