Attorney General Rob McKenna and State Auditor Brian Sonntag yesterday kicked off the first meeting of their Open Government Task Force. The Spokesman-Review sums it up:
State Auditor Brian Sonntag and Attorney General Rob McKenna have been outspoken in their support of Washington’s open government laws, so it’s no surprise that both were on hand Monday for the first meeting of the Open Government Task Force they teamed up to create.
Better yet, they were there on behalf of steps that would make Washington’s laws more efficient for residents who want to keep an eye on their government.
The problem, as Democrat Sonntag and Republican McKenna noted, is that while the law favors public access to government records and meetings, the bulk of government is inordinately hard to move. When agencies are reluctant to unlock their file drawers and assembly rooms, aggrieved citizens have essentially one recourse: sue.
Tim Ford, open-records ombudsman for the AGO explains the task force's work in today's Olympian:
“The idea is to keep these complaints over records disclosure out of court, which is often the only recourse for citizens who find their requests are denied. The court provides a remedy, but it’s not always an adequate remedy; it’s not an efficient remedy.’’