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Oregon Public Records, Consumer Protection, and the Oregon Attorney General

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A Dec 2nd, Oregonian story reports on policy and practice changes at the Oregon Department of Justice.

Read the Oregonian story for background and details: Kroger appoints public records czar but limits consumer information, by The Oregonian’s Jeff Mapes and Laura Gunderson, December 02, 2009.

Changes include:

1) Reorganization of how public records requests will be handled statewide,
2) Public posting of the full Oregon Public Records and Meetings Manual,
3) Change in policy about reporting, publicly, on civil investigations,

and,

4) The appointment of a public records chief, that is, a Government Transparency Counsel: “The Government Transparency Counsel is a new position at the Oregon Department of Justice. The Government Transparency Counsel’s mission is to improve the enforcement of Oregon’s open government laws. The position will coordinate all public records requests to the Department of Justice.”

(Note from a (too literal) law librarian: This sounds like an interesting and useful job, but I’m not sure about the title. I can hear people asking, and see them scratching their heads, “but what does a transparency counsel DO?” What’s wrong with calling it a Public Records Officer or Director of the Open Government Office or some such? It’s like the old saying about res ipsa loquitur: If the thing speaks for itself, it’s a pity it doesn’t speak English.)