Archive for January, 2010

Open Gov Turns One

So … blogging.  Wow.  It’s been months.  It’s not that I haven’t thought of stuff to write, but rather that I’ve been so busy at work that I’m too tired once I’m home.

But today brought two fun things: being in a documentary about open government and then being mentioned on the Washington Post’s site as they discuss the documentary.  The documentary shows several folks talking about what open government means, how it’s going, and challenges we face.  Chris Quigley, the filmmaker, did a great job piecing together different bits so the viewer hears different perspectives on the same topic.  On Chris’ Web page, you can view the video or individual interviews.

I’m very excited about what’s coming with open government.  I’m now heavily involved in pulling together EPA’s open gov’t page (it’ll be at epa.gov/open) and our open gov’t plan.  I’m proud that we’re going to do better than the requirements laid out in the open gov’t directive.  And I’m also happy that we’ll be able to showcase what we’ve been doing all along.  Open gov’t concepts aren’t new at EPA, but this will be the first time we’ve provided access to them as a whole.

My day-to-day job mostly focuses on communications, so my team’s contributions go far toward participation, as opposed to the collaboration and transparency aspects of open gov’t (although we did create the mechanism for publishing senior EPA managers schedules).  And that stuff’s fun and produces solid results.  But right from the beginning, what’s most gotten me revved up is the prospect for people we’ve never really engaged to help us choose good policies.

That’s why I keep giving my talks to senior managers about social media.

And we’re seeing good things happening, from our enforcement office’s months-long discussion forum about enforcement priorities to the current discussion about solid waste.

And we keep exploring new ways of connecting to the public, like broadcasting our announcement about the greenhouse gas endangerment finding. That was the first time we’d ever used that tool, but only nine days later,  we used it again to allow the public to ask questions about Superfund.  And more’s coming in that vein.

We’ll also keep going on stuff like video contests.  We have so many in the queue at the moment that we’re having to plan months in advance.

So the past year has been good, but I think I’ll have trouble this time next year deciding what to highlight!

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