The Washington Coalition for Open Government will honor activists and journalists for their contributions to promoting open government at the annual Madison Andersen Awards Breakfast on Friday, Sept. 22 at the Washington Athletic Club.
This year’s honorees are the late Kris Passey, a WCOG founder and local newspaper publisher, whose widow, Catherine, will accept the James Madison Award on his behalf; attorney William J. Crittenden, who is recognized for his work on access cases with the James Andersen Award; and Susannah Frame, whose use of public records laws in her reporting for KING 5, notably on issues involving safety at the Hanford Nuclear Site, earned her the Kenneth F. Bunting Award.
WCOG has recently reached across the river to encourage and assist with open government issues in neighboring Oregon.
The Coalition recognized The Malheur Enterprise, in Malheur, Oregon, with a Key Award for its persistence in seeking public records and reporting on a prominent crime.
Also, WCOG president Toby Nixon gave testimony for Oregon Senate Bill 2101, which created a Sunshine Committee similar to the Washington Public Records Exemption Accountability Committee, to review and assess Oregon’s 550 exemptions to its Public Records Act.
WCOG recently presented a Key Award to Matthew Hayward, a state coordinator with the Freedom Foundation, for his efforts encouraging the Lincoln County Commissioners to unanimously decide to require open access to collective bargaining negotiations involving the county. The three-member commission was also recognized with a Key Award last fall for its September 2016 decision to conduct collective bargaining negotiations under the terms of the state Open Public Meetings Act, allowing access by the public and, by extension, employees other than the negotiators.
WCOG presented a Key Award to Dayal Trusty, a forms and records analyst with the Washington State Patrol, for improving the efficiency of processing public records requests in the office, and then sharing her methods with colleagues. Trusty oversees public records requests to the state patrol’s communications division, which includes records of radio and telephone communications and logs. She shared her techniques with public records officers in each state patrol district, and helped several catch up with their backlog.
WCOG will have eyes and voice in a records access study authorized by recent legislation, which seeks to consider a website “portal” for public records management by Washington agencies.
WCOG president Toby Nixon was invited by the state archivist, which is charged with overseeing this project, to serve on the stakeholder advisory group on the Portal Study that was authorized in HB 1594, approved during the last legislative session. Other members include legislators and public records officers.