WCOG applauds Toby Nixon’s 15 years of service.

WCOG applauds Toby Nixon’s 15 years of service

The Washington Coalition for Open Government board on Friday recognized Toby Nixon on his retirement as coalition president, a position he held for 13 years. Nixon served 15 years on WCOG’s board.

Toby Nixon

Nixon will remain with the coalition as president emeritus. Mike Fancher, former executive editor of The Seattle Times, succeeded Nixon as president during the coalition’s annual meeting Feb. 12.

“The work of the coalition remains very important to me,” Nixon told board members during his final meeting as WCOG president. “I will continue to be a member and a supporter.” Nixon added, “I am very happy that we, all together, have made a difference. We have made a difference in Washington state, and I have every confidence the coalition will continue to make a difference.”

Nixon is a member of the Kirkland City Council and a senior program manager at Microsoft. He signaled his desire to step down as coalition president in January, but stayed on for four weeks to assure an orderly transition.

During Nixon’s tenure as president, the coalition built a stronger financial foundation, raised its profile statewide and became a more effective advocate for public records, open meetings and informed citizens in Washington state.

Under Nixon’s leadership the coalition also maintained a politically diverse board and membership, demonstrating that open government remains an inclusive idea even in deeply partisan times.

“He embodies the spirit that WCOG truly is a coalition whose members can, and often do, disagree with each other but stand together to fight for openness in government, believing it is the best way to ensure accountability and preserve public trust,” said Fancher, who is following Nixon as the coalition’s president.

Coalition board members had hoped Nixon would serve another year as president, although they honored his request to step down. “We need six pairs of feet to fill Toby’s shoes,” Fancher said.

State and national organizations have recognized Nixon for his work on behalf of open government and the First Amendment. In 2012, the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Society of Professional Journalists inducted Nixon into their “Heroes of the 50 States: The State Open Government Hall of Fame.”

The Washington Newspaper Publishers Association in 2006 presented Nixon with its “Freedom’s Light Award” for his efforts to protect and advance our freedoms under the First Amendment.

In addition to electing Fancher as president, the WCOG board approved the following officers: Michele Earl-Hubbard, vice president; Ed Clark, treasurer; and George Erb, secretary.