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Attorney General's Office Open Government Ombudsman

Nancy Krier
Assistant Attorney General for Open Government
360-586-7842
NancyK1@atg.wa.gov

The Attorney General's Ombuds Function

Helping Washington Citizens and Government Agencies with Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act Compliance

  1. How the Attorney General's Office Assistant Attorney General for Open Government  assists the public
  2. How the Assistant Attorney General for Open Government  Can Help You
  3. Why the Attorney General Offers This Service
  4. Public Records Act Information and Resources
  5. Open Meetings Act Information and Resources
  6. Open Government Associations for Citizens
  7. Government Associations Working on Open Government Issues

 


1. How the Attorney General's Office Assistant Attorney General for Open Government assists the public  

The Attorney General has appointed an Assistant Attorney General for Open Government who can assist citizens and agencies with Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act compliance. Here are some common examples of what the office does:

  • A citizen emails a question to the office to ask whether an agency’s response (or lack of a response) violates the Public Records Act. If the office has enough information in the email (a copy of the request and the agency’s response), it might provide a short analysis of the law and apply it to the facts presented by the citizen.
  • A state or local agency calls the office to ask if its approach to providing public records is correct or not. The office might agree with the agency or suggest an alternate approach.
  • A citizen or agency asks the office if an agency meeting must be open to the public. The office would analyze the issue and provide an informal opinion by phone, email, or sometimes by letter.

In this role, the Assistant Attorney General for Open Government also coordinates the Attorney General’s legislative and policy efforts on the Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act. The office drafts legislation and works with the Legislature to pass it. The office also drafts the Attorney General’s model rules for public records link and works on updating them. Finally, the office speaks to citizen and agency groups about open government laws and writes resource materials such as the Attorney General’s Open Government Internet Manual and online training materials.

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2. How the Assistant Attorney General for Open Government Can Help You

The Office's Assistant Attorney General for Open Government may be able to answer your question and provide an informal written analysis. If the Office agrees with a citizen, the citizen might send the Office’s analysis to the agency and ask the agency to reconsider its position. The Assistant Attorney General for Open Government can help an agency by answering its questions and providing a written analysis.
 
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3. Why the Attorney General Offers This Service  

Our open government laws exist to promote democracy and open up government for all citizens. To hold government accountable, the public must be able to stay informed of their government’s activities. Not only do citizens have a right to know how their government is spending their tax dollars and exercising the powers the people gave to them, the public has a need to know.

Until the creation of the open government position, citizens often had no where to turn for information about the Public Records Act or Open Public Meetings Act. Agencies make difficult decisions everyday and try to fairly apply the law. When a conflict comes up the Office's Assistant Attorney General for Open Government may be able to assist.

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4. Public Records Act Information and Resources

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5. Open Meetings Act Information and Resources

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6. Open Government Associations for Citizens

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7. Government Associations Working on Open Government Issues

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