AG Schimel Reports Office of Open Government Performance

Jul 19 2017

MADISON, Wis. – In an effort to continue operating transparently and ensure accountability, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Open Government today reported its performance statistics for the first half of 2017.

 

“During the Office of Open Government’s nearly two year existence, it has become a great example of government transparency and openness, and an asset for the public and DOJ team members alike,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Although DOJ is not required to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order related to open government, I agree wholeheartedly with the Order’s goals, and I believe the Office of Open Government can serve as a model for other government entities trying to establish best practices.”

 

Below is a summary of the Office’s activities for the first six months of 2017.

 

Completed Activities

 

  • Responded to 354 public-records requests;
  • Released public-records reports, video, and audio files related to 4 officer-involved shootings or deaths;
  • Responded to 271 requests on its Open Government Helpline (PROM);
  • Responded to 36 formal requests for guidance concerning open government.

Response Times

 

According to the Wisconsin Public Records Compliance Guide, “DOJ policy is that ten working days is generally a reasonable time for responding to a simple request for a limited number of easily identifiable records.”

 

During the first half of 2017, the Office responded to 60% of public-records requests within ten working days. Taking into account all requests, including those that were broader in scope or required time-intensive review, the Office’s average response time for the first half of 2017 was 31 calendar days.

 

The Office’s performance in June 2017 was particularly notable, with 72 matters closed in an average response time of 25 calendar days. During this same period, the Office closed 64% of all public-records requests within 10 calendar days.

 

New Efforts

 

Finally, the Office announced that it will post new information on its website:

 

  • A snapshot of all public-records requests pending on Monday of each week;
  • The average monthly response time;
  • OOG’s internal policies and procedures.

This new information is available at this link:

 

https://www.doj.state.wi.us/office-open-government/responses-public-record-requests

 

The Office is also considering whether it is technically feasible, and appropriate in all circumstances, to start the process of posting all responses to public-records requests on the Internet.

 

The Office encourages other authorities in Wisconsin to consider posting more information on their websites concerning their internal policies, workload, and overall performance.

 

The Office was created in 2015 by Attorney General Brad Schimel and reports directly to the Office of Attorney General.  The Office is supported by Assistant Attorney General Paul Ferguson, two paralegals, one legal associate, seven DCI employees, and attorneys within DOJ’s Employment and Open Government Section.