Browsing: transparency

Agency board to talk transparency, but meeting closed to public

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The board that oversees the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent federal agency that doles out foreign aid, is meeting next week  to discuss open data and transparency. But the meeting, it turns out, is closed to the public. As a policy, MCC board meetings are held behind closed doors. But with transparency on the agenda, “it’s hard to see why the entire board meeting would be closed to the public,” said John Wonderlich, policy director for the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates for increased government transparency. He credited the MCC for releasing copies of its meeting minutes. Meanwhile,…

Medical malpractice records restored to public, with reporting rules

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The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has reopened public access to information on malpractice settlements and discipline taken against poor  performing doctors. But under its new data use agreement, publicly available information from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) cannot be reposted or used in combination with other information to identify a doctor. HRSA took down its online public file of the NPDB Sept. 1, after a Kansas City Star reporter used the information to track down the identity of a doctor who had a long record of malpractice cases against him but was never disciplined by the state. Now, if HRSA learns that data…

Medical malpractice records removed from public view

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The ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is pushing the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to reopen public access to information on malpractice settlements and discipline taken against poor  performing doctors. HRSA took down its online public file of the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPBD) Sept. 1, after a Kansas City Starreporter used the publicly available information to track down the identity of a doctor who had a long record of malpractice cases against him but was never disciplined by the state. “Shutting down public access to the data bank undermines the critical mission of identifying inefficiencies within our health care system – particularly…

This means war

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Buildup over a draft executive order that would require contractors to disclose their political contributions has led one voice for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to mimic the President’s charge in Libya. “We will fight it through all available means,” the Chamber of Commerce’s top lobbyist R. Bruce Josten told the New York Times Tuesday. In a reference to the White House’s battle to depose Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, he said, “To quote what they say every day on Libya, all options are on the table.” The proposal, leaked last week by a former Federal Election Commission official, would…

OPM refuses to say how long it takes to hire someone

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Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry earlier this week had this to say about the progress agencies are making on speeding up the hiring process: The broader deadline is the one that everybody’s referred to, the 80 days. That’s the marker the president’s put out there [on how long an agency should take to hire somebody]. I admit, we’re not there yet on everywhere but we have hit some bright spots. We’re getting close to it at OPM. That’s a little vague. “Close” could mean 81 days. Could mean 100 days. Could mean 120 days. I wanted to follow…

Agencies seeking feedback on making operations more transparent

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Earlier I wrote about how the Environmental Protection Agency was asking for the public’s help in making the agency more open and transparent. It turns out that EPA isn’t alone. Twenty-five agencies have launched special websites through which people can submit and vote on ideas for how those agencies can expand and improve online access to information, better solicit feedback from the public and better engage with groups both inside and outside goverment. Twenty-three of the agencies are using a web platform developed by the General Services Administration to engage the public. By offering a single solution, GSA made it easier for…

EPA's open government efforts begin with public

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The Environmental Protection Agency is asking for the public to help it comply with an Obama administration directive to make government operations more open and transparent. EPA has created a special website through which people can submit and vote on ideas for how the agency can solicit more feedback from the public, improve the quality and availability of information posted online and work better with groups inside and outside government. Ideas will be accepted until March 19. EPA will use the suggestions to help write its first-ever Open Government Plan, said Linda Travers, EPA’s principal deputy assistant administrator, in an Feb. 10 e-mail to…

RAT board not certifying data it's not supposed to certify

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Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent a letter on Nov. 13 (pdf) to Earl Devaney, the chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, raising some questions about the stimulus data posted on Recovery.gov. Issa was specifically concerned about the “jobs created/saved” data: The site claims 640,329 jobs have been created or saved, but there’s widespread agreement that figure is wrong.

Why is the Fed so unpopular?

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A new Gallup poll finds the Federal Reserve is the least popular among nine “key” federal agencies. You can read the poll as an example of why government transparency is important — because the Fed’s low ranking is due, in part, to its opacity. There’s a serious debate in economics circles right now about the Fed’s performance during the economic crisis, and whether Ben Bernanke should be reappointed. But I doubt most of Gallup’s respondents are privy to that debate; many Americans simply don’t understand what the Fed does. It’s just an opaque entity that handles the economy — and…

Got Ideas?

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Following on the earlier theme of open government and sharing ideas, FedLine brings you more ways you can contribute to President Obama’s national discussion on improving government. Today the White House, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board and the National Academy of Public Administration launched a site to gather input on how information technology can bring greater transparency to recovery spending. The week long “National Dialogue” is soliciting ideas from the public on what Recovery.gov should do and how it should do it. Topics include data collection, data storage, data analysis, data presentation, Web site design, and waste, fraud and abuse…

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