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Jim Snider’s Idea for the President’s Open Gov Plan

J.H. Snider, NCDD member and president of iSolon.org, put forward the following proposal to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in response to their solicitation for ideas for the Open Government Plan at opengov@ostp.gov. An excerpt is found below and the entire message to the OSTP can be read after the break.

Let’s take cost away as an excuse for not webcasting and recording public meetings.

I recommend that the White House include in its open government plan a proposal to modernize public meeting spaces at Federal agencies. What I have in mind is technology that would allow public bodies, such as the approximately 1,000 Federal advisory committees, the ability to turn on webcasting with the flip of a switch or at least something much more cost effective than today’s labor intensive webcasting meeting room technology. The President has already endorsed webcasting Federal advisory committee meetings, so this would merely be a way to help move that agenda forward.

J.H. Snider

The full message:

From: J.H. Snider
Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2011 10:14 AM
To: ‘opengov@ostp.gov’
Subject: A proposal to modernize public meeting spaces across Federal agencies

Dear Messrs. Chopra and Sunstein:

Thank you for your White House blog post soliciting ideas for the U.S. Open Government Plan.

I recommend that the White House include in its open government plan a proposal to modernize public meeting spaces at Federal agencies. What I have in mind is technology that would allow public bodies, such as the approximately 1,000 Federal advisory committees, the ability to turn on webcasting with the flip of a switch or at least something much more cost effective than today’s labor intensive webcasting meeting room technology. The President has already endorsed webcasting Federal advisory committee meetings, so this would merely be a way to help move that agenda forward.

The specific way I would implement this agenda would be to ask GSA’s Administrator to design new media specs for public meeting spaces at Federal agencies. The GSA is already implementing such technologies as part of its effort to bolster telework across the Federal government, so in some sense I’m merely suggesting another reason to continue that existing effort.

This summer the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution published a paper of mine that touches on these issues. The paper, Making Public Community Media Accessible, focuses on the local level of government, where there are tens of thousands of public meeting rooms. But the need for automating media in public meeting rooms is also relevant at the Federal level.

Let’s take cost away as an excuse for not webcasting and recording public meetings.

Sincerely,

–Jim Snider

J.H. (“Jim”) Snider, Ph.D.
President
iSolon.org


J.H. Snider is currently Network Fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and President of iSolon.org which you can contact here.

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This post was submitted by a member of the NCDD community. NCDD members are leaders and future leaders in the fields of public engagement, conflict resolution, and community problem solving. You, too, can post to the NCDD blog by completing the Add-to-Blog form at www.ncdd.org/submit.

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  1. This is a great idea, actually.

  2. […] A proposal to modernize public meeting spaces across Federal agencies  The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation publishes J.H. Snider’s letter to senior White House officials regarding the future design of public meeting spaces at Federal agencies. Share this:PrintEmailTwitterFacebookMoreLinkedInRedditTumblrDiggStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in In The Press. Bookmark the permalink. October 5, 2011 → […]

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