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Friday, June 22, 2007

Tennessee Gets an Open Government Ombudsman

"The state is now looking for an expert on open records. The budget that goes into effect in July includes $100,000 to hire an open records ombudsman, someone to help regular people get documents that are available under the state's Public Records Act."

Good for Tennessee. Pierce County is looking at doing the same thing and Washington's Attorney General, Rob McKenna, did the same in early 2005 by hiring Allied Law Group's Greg Overstreet. Now that Overstreet has moved over to private practice, McKenna has replaced him with Tim Ford. A public records ombudsman is one of the few examples in government where a public employee's job is specifically to help individual people with claims against the government. It's rare. But needed.