The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently announced that the vacancy announcement for the Director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) has been posted on the USAJOBS website. The application deadline is February 27, 2009.
In 2007, President Bush signed into law the “Open Government Act of 2007″ (Public Law 110-175). The law requires the establishment of an Office of Government Information Services within NARA to oversee Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) activities government-wide. Within that office a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ombudsman is to be appointed to review agency policies and procedures, audit agency performance, recommend policy changes, and mediate disputes between FOIA requestors and agencies.
Unfortunately, when President Bush sent his proposed FY ‘09 budget to Congress, no funding was included for the establishment of the OGIS at NARA. Instead, the President proposed language to move OGIS to the Department of Justice, and to repeal the language in the Open the Government Act placing OGIS at the National Archives.
A hearing was held before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last year to consider the implementation of the OGIS within NARA.
Last year, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees rejected the president’s proposal. Both the Senate and House fiscal year 2009 bills that fund NARA allocated $1 million for the creation of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at the agency. However, Congress did not enact these bills and NARA is operating under a continuing resolution that is funding the agency at the FY 2008 level. Congress is expected to turn its attention to passing the FY 2009 budget after it completes action on the stimulus package.