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Rogue River Bridge

Ever had one of those weeks when your car has a flat, the dog escapes and you get a call from your bank because your credit card number was stolen? We’ve had a couple weeks like that at OGIS regarding publishing online our 2012 report on our second full year. But never mind all that …

We’re thrilled that Building a Bridge Between FOIA Requesters & Federal Agencies went up on the OGIS web site earlier this month. You can view it three ways: in html, in a PDF and in a page-turn PDF.

The report tells the story of OGIS’s second year, from providing mediation services to requesters and agencies in hundreds of cases, to training agency FOIA professionals in dispute resolution skills, to reviewing agency FOIA policies, procedures and compliance. Customer service is a theme running throughout the report. Since opening in September 2009, we’ve observed the importance of good customer service in resolving—and preventing—FOIA disputes between agencies and requesters. As OGIS Director Miriam Nisbet says in the report’s Message from the Director, customer service also is a thread we at OGIS weave into our daily work.

You also may be interested in a letter from Director Nisbet to Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley, following up on the March 13th Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on FOIA. During the hearing, Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley asked about the status of OGIS’s recommendations for improving the administration of FOIA, which is part of OGIS’s statutory mission. As the letter explains, OGIS submitted to OMB last year recommendations based on OGIS’s first year.  As a result of the interagency review process, OGIS and OMB agreed that OGIS should pursue administrative solutions “before further considering whether a legislative proposal would be necessary or appropriate.” As the letter and our report detail, OGIS also is working on other ways to improve FOIA administration.

 Happy reading! And, as always, let us know what you think.