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Mayor Gray Announces New Open Government Initiatives

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Mayor Names new Open Government Advisory Group to foster transparency

(Washington, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced the launch or advancement of six initiatives as part of his ongoing strategy to improve government transparency and accountability. The new initiatives are: the appointment of a 15-member Open Government Advisory Group; the re-launch of the data.dc.gov website which now includes 237 new datasets; and a redesigned track.dc.gov, where residents can track agency performance.

The new open data projects complement other online applications the Mayor previously launched, directing city agencies to provide increased information to the public and significantly widen opportunities for public feedback, including:  implementation of FOIAXpress, the District’s first-ever citywide FOIA processing system; required agency posting of Open Government Reports; revision of the Terms and Conditions on the dc.gov website to loosen restrictions on the use of government data posted online; and continued promotion of grade.dc.gov where residents can grade their government to facilitate improved service delivery.

“From the beginning of the Gray Administration, we have created a climate of openness and transparency and these new and improved initiatives will have a lasting positive impact on how the public interfaces and learns about of the workings of the District government,” said Mayor Gray. “An open and transparent government translates into a better government.”

Mayor Gray created the Open Government Advisory Group to evaluate the District’s progress towards meeting the requirements of the Transparency, Open Government and Open Data Directive (Mayor’s Order 2014-170 issued in July); and make specific recommendations for improvements. The panel includes three public members who will be tasked with holding the government accountable and a dozen representatives of city agencies who will facilitate execution of the Mayor’s open data policies. Mayor Gray swore-in the following appointees at a ceremony this morning:

• Rob Mancini, Chief Technology Officer, OCTO
• Dervel Reed, OCTO Chief Data Officer
• Robert Becker – Attorney/Board Member of D.C. Open Government Coalition
• Justin Grimes –  Code for DC Co-Founder 
• Kathryn Pettit –Urban Institute Policy Researcher
• Traci Hughes, Director, Office of Open Government, Board of Ethics and Government Accountability
• David Zvenyach, General Counsel to the Council of the District of Columbia
• Ayesha Abbasi, representative of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
• Scott Burrell, representative of Office of the City Administrator
• Jennifer Comey, representative of Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education
• Brian Flowers, Executive Office of the Mayor General Counsel
• Rachel Joseph, representative of Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services
• Ariel B. Levinson-Waldman, representative of Office of the Attorney General 
• Treva Saunders, representative of Office of the Chief Financial Officer
• Keith St. Clair, representative of Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice

Track.dc.gov allows residents to track the performance of individual agencies, and learn more about their key performance indicators, budgets and spending. 

“Track DC is a powerful resource for citizens to monitor agency performance,” said City Administrator Allen Y. Lew.  “The Track DC website has been completely redesigned to be more user-friendly, transparent, and accessible to the public.”

Enhancements to the Track DC website include:

• New graphics, charts, and visual displays;
• Improved functionality and features, such as the ability to export data directly from agency dashboards;
• Simplified design, navigation, and help features;  and
• Responsive web design to optimize the user experience on mobile devices.

Among the 237 new datasets available at data.dc.gov are:
• Three-dimensional renderings of all District buildings;
• FY 2013-2014 DC Public Schools enrollment data;
• New land use data sets including vacant lots and community gardens;
• Urban Tree Canopy data;
• Great Streets Initiative site boundaries
“We hope developers will begin using this data to create new apps for the benefit of District residents,” said Chief Technology Officer Rob Mancini.

Mayor Gray launched FOIAXpress at foia.dc.gov, a new online system for submitting and processing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to District government agencies in July. Since then, more than 600 FOIA requests have been submitted by the public and the press via the first-ever District centralized state-of-the-art web portal.
 
The Mayor’s Open Data Policy also set an October deadline for agencies to develop and publish an Open Government Report.  The annual reports will highlight any open government activities agencies have undertaken to-date and list planned activities.

In announcing revised Terms and Conditions of Use for District Data, Mayor Gray has opened the door to wider use of data posted on dc.gov website. The Terms and Conditions posting also contains contact information for use of District logos, and a request for comments that will inform the work of the Open Government Advisory Group.