About Us

MNCOGI provides public education on government transparency, government information policy, and related issues.

Board Members

Nick Borger (he/him)

Nick is a Senior Associate with Westlaw Product Management, where he assists in the development of artificial intelligence powered legal research tools and helps craft the value message for the product. Prior to joining the team at Westlaw, Nick was an attorney in private practice for 5 years, assisting clients with a wide range of issues including interactions with government agencies and social-media-based litigation. Currently, Nick serves as the Secretary of MNCOGI.

Helen Burke (she/her)

Helen first joined the MNCOGI board in 2003 while she served as Government Documents Coordinator at the Minneapolis Public Library, now the Hennepin County Library (HCL). In that capacity, the Public Printer appointed her to a 3-year term (2010-2013) as the public library representative on the 15 member [Federal] Depository Library Council. Making government information discoverable and accessible is an abiding pursuit of Helen’s. Upon retirement in July 2018, she left the board for 2 years, and returned in August 2020.  In the past, she’s served as a member of MNCOGI’s steering committee, its Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Bill Bushey (he/him)

Bill is a Software Engineer at Granicus, a provider of citizen engagement, online publishing, and legislative and records management tools for governments of all sizes. Bill is also a co-founder and former lead organizer of Open Twin Cities, a grassroots group that holds community focused ideation and technology development events, and advocates for open public access to government data. Bill earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Clarkson University and an M.S. in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Hal Davis

Hal Davis is the retired team leader for public safety at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He held a similar position at the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News. Prior to that, he was assistant editor at the National Law Journal, news editor at Bloomberg Business News, a reporter at the New York Post, where he covered state courts for 15 years, and a reporter at United Press International.

Pat Doyle

Pat Doyle reported for the Minneapolis Star Tribune from 1984 to 2014, covering a wide variety of local and state government agencies. He was assigned to the newspaper’s Capitol bureau from 2005 through 2010, covering budgets, casino gambling, pensions, transportation and politics. He has made extensive use of the Minnesota Data Practices Act and the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. He was a winner of the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award for investigating the 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35-W bridge in Minneapolis and of a Minnesota Associated Press Freedom of Information Award for “Inside MnDOT,” a series in 2003 on a state transportation agency that broke contracting laws and manipulated public opinion.

Matt Ehling

Matt Ehling is a writer and television producer, and the president of Public Record Media.  His broadcast documentaries include “Urban Warrior” and “Intent: Searching for Meaning in the Constitution,” and have been seen on PBS, the Bravo Channel, and at film festivals worldwide.  He has been part of several Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award-winning teams.  His written work has appeared in the on-line news magazine Minnpost.com and other outlets.

His organization Public Record Media (PRM) uses government documents to produce public affairs media.  PRM is a frequent user of government records laws at the state and federal level, and seeks to encourage government compliance with such laws through administrative actions and litigation when appropriate.

Don Gemberling

Don Gemberling began working, professionally, with issues of transparency, governmental accountability, the implications of technology on humans, and data privacy in 1973. For over thirty years he was the only staff or managed functions in the state Department of Administration that involved helping government agencies comply with the Data Practices Act and related law and citizens with exercising their rights under those laws. He is currently on the Board of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information and is the Board’s secretary. He is also MnCOGI’s spokesperson and testifies before the legislature. He graduated from Macalester College and William Mitchell College of Law. He is available to answer questions and enjoys training citizens about how to best use transparency and data privacy laws.

Nancy Herther

Nancy Herther worked for over 30 years as a research librarian at the University of Minnesota. She has also worked as a research consultant for major technology companies and continues to advise/consult/write in all areas concerning information access and trends. In recognition of her “outstanding professional accomplishments and dedication,” she was selected in 2020 to receive the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who’s Who.

Gary Hill

Gary Hill serves as Chair of the MNCOGI Board. Previously, he was the Director of Communications and Media Relations for Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin, and worked as the Communications Director for the office of the Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate. He also worked for over 32 years as a broadcast journalist at KSTP-TV. During that time he held positions ranging from photographer and field producer to managing editor and director of investigations. His volunteer positions included Chairman of the Ethics Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists, co-Chair of the Minnesota SPJ Chapter’s Freedom of Information Committee and Vice-President of the Minnesota Joint Media Committee.

Isabella Salomão Nascimento (she/her)

Isabella Nascimento is an associate at Ballard Spahr LLP in their Media & Entertainment Law group, where her practice is centered on protecting the rights of the press and the public as guaranteed by the First Amendment. She started her career as a Staff Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, where she represented clients who had their civil liberties threatened or violated. And her background was in indigent criminal defense, racial justice, and police accountability. She believes that a transparent government is the best means to achieve its accountability and ensure it is working for the benefit of all its constituents. Isabella, the daughter of immigrants and a first generation American, was born and raised in southern Minnesota. Isabella received her bachelors’ from the University of Minnesota and her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

Sharon Schmickle

Sharon Schmickle has been a journalist for MinnPost.com since 2007, and before that she reported for the Minneapolis Star Tribune where her beats included the Washington Bureau and covering wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her awards include Pulitzer Prize finalist for coverage of the U.S. court system, National Press Club’s Washington Correspondent of the Year for coverage of the federal budget as it affected one Minnesota community, Overseas Press Club of America award for coverage of trade friction. She has taught writing and journalism at Macalester College, the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute. Since 2011, she also has worked as a journalism mentor in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania. She graduated from the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism, and she has studied under fellowships including the Templeton-Cambridge fellowship in science and religion at Cambridge University, England.

Tony Webster (he/him)

Tony Webster is a journalist and researcher in Minneapolis who frequently uses freedom of information laws in his work. With a background in software engineering, Tony uses large datasets, court documents, and public records to report on issues like government surveillance, policing practices, and the criminal justice system.

Financials

2020

2019

2018

2017

Archives

An archive of content from our Blogspot site (2007 – 2013) can be found at blogspot.archive.mncogi.org.