D.C. Office of Open Government Gets More Independence and Budget Boost

Open government got a vote of confidence Thursday (18) as a D.C. Council committee approved more resources for the Office this coming year (beginning October 1) and new autonomy to develop and control its own budget.

In a draft of its budget report, obtained by the Open Government Coalition, the Council Judiciary Committee writes, “The Office of Government Ethics and the Office of Open Government are co-equal and independent offices under the purview of the Board of Ethics. This [new legislation to be passed as part of the FY18 Budget Support Act of 2017] gives the Director of the Office of Open Government the authority to prepare and submit the office’s own annual budget to the Mayor, with the approval of the Ethics Board.”

The D.C. Open Government Coalition testified at the February 2017 oversight hearing on the significant work of the Office and its need for independence to plan and control its own funds as well as for increased resources to carry out its mission of  enforcement of laws and policies on open meetings, open records and open data.

The Council Judiciary Committee FY18 budget report is here. The section with text of legislation to enhance budget autonomy for the Office of Open Government is at p. 243.  The Coalition February 2017 oversight hearing testimony on the Office is reported in an earlier blog post.