OLYMPIA…State Attorney General Rob McKenna and state auditor Brian Sonntag are teaming up once again to increase access to government information through public records and open public meetings.
The duo announced a new task force this week to study and make recommendations on the creation of an administrative board to rule on complaints of violations of the Public Records Act and the Open Public Meetings Act.
“State and local government face a logjam of citizen complaints, costly litigation over the PRA and OPMA, and uncertainty regarding potential liability that may require payment of attorney fees, costs and daily penalties,” Sonntag and McKenna wrote in a letter to task force appointees.
“Citizens that are denied access to public records and public meetings have no choice other than to go to court, and lawsuits may take years to resolve at great costs to private citizens. Going to court to enforce legal rights to access public records and public meetings is simply not an option for many citizens,” they said. “Washington needs an efficient and inexpensive solution to resolve complaints and provide greater access to public records and public meetings while reducing costs to governmental agencies and the public.”
Task force members include:
• Paula Adams, King County
• Jim Doherty, Municipal Research and Services Center
• Judy Endejan, Graham and Dunn PC
• Ruth Gordon, Jefferson County
• Jerry Handfield, Secretary of State
• John Hendrickson, Kenmore City Council
• Mary Hunt, Douglas County
• Rep. Chris Hurst, 31st District
• Graham Johnson, Former Executive Director of the Public Disclosure Commission 1974-1993
• Rep. Lynn Kessler, 24th District
• Rep. Joel Kretz, 7th District
• Louis Mitchell, Bremerton School Board
• Sen. Bob Morton, 7th District
• Shirley Nixon, Citizen Activist
• Toby Nixon, Washington Coalition for Open Government
• Bob Partlow, Citizen Representative
• Althea Paulson, Kitsap Regional Library
• Kevin Phelps, Pierce County
• Craig Ritchie, Ritchie Law Firm, PS
• Rowland Thompson, Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington
The Open Government Task Force will meet from 9 am to 1 pm on Oct. 5 and Nov. 2 at the Attorney General’s Office in Olympia.
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Janelle Guthrie, Attorney General’s Office Communications Director, (360) 586-0725
Mindy Chambers, Auditor’s Office Communications Director, (360) 902-0091