Planning MnCOGI’s Transparency Inventory

Posted by: on Jun 8, 2009 | No Comments

COGI-tations: A program of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

Planning MnCOGI’s Transparency Inventory moderated by Allan Malkis, Board member, Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

Looking to hold a government agency accountable for the action it takes?
Discuss how to conduct an inventory of a state or local agency’s actions.

Thursday, June 25, 2009
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
East Lake Library
2727 Lake Street (near Hiawatha)

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Future COGI-tations

August 5, 2009
Don Gemberling
Introduction to Minnesota’s Data Practices Act

Late August/Early September, 2009
International Right to Know Day

COGI-tations are public forums sponsored by the
Minnesota Coalition on Government Information.
All COGI-tations are free and open to the public.

Our First COGI-tation

Posted by: on Apr 12, 2008 | No Comments

The other night we had the first of our “COGI-tations” presentations. We are off to a great start. Legislative Auditor James Nobles spoke — he spoke with authority, clarity of purpose and commitment to the people of Minnesota. It was the most informative and refreshing presentation I have heard in a very long time.

The work of the Legislative Auditor is non-partisan and essential to good government. His work involves fiscal auditing as well as inspection and evaluation of state government in its many manifestations. For the first time ever I understand now that the elected state auditor audits local government while the legislative auditor is responsible to but not for the Legislature. His purview is state government agencies, commissions and all those instrumentalities that operate with state funds — everything from charter schools to nonprofits that operate with state funds.

Nobles offered on the one hand an articulate intro to state government organization and processes. More than this, his commitment to the highest quality public service and the importance of good government was both refreshing and inspiring. For the moment at least, I have renewed faith in the democracy at work.

Our first COGI-tation, co-sponsored by Common Cause Minnesota, set a high standard I hope we can uphold.

Summary Minutes COGI Board Meeting Jan 7, 2008

Posted by: on Jan 31, 2008 | No Comments

Minnesota Coalition on Government Information
Summary Minutes – Meeting of the COGI Board

January 7, 2008

Attendees: Helen Burke; Katie Engler; Alan Malkis; Mary Treacy; Julia Wallace; and, Laura Wittstock.


Information was provided on “a save the date” for the March 1, “Afloat” event, confirmed reservation of Pohlad Hall at the Mpls Central Library for the FOI Day event; and, a variety of legislative developments, including an alert concerning S.F. 2345 a bill that would greatly enhance the government’s authority to declare certain data to be civil investigative data and therefore not public.

Board Development.

The Board agreed that we should recruit additional members so that the Board would have full membership of 15. COGI needs to function more formally including such things as election of officers, creating an executive committee of the Board, filing of reports, and following our by-laws.

Helen Burke was nominated to be Chair of the Board and elected unanimously.

Robbie LaFleur was nominated to be Treasurer and elected unanimously.

Don Gemberling was nominated to be Secretary and elected unanimously.

The Board agreed to create an executive committee of three members until such time as the Board gets to full membership of fifteen at which time the executive committee will be expanded to five members.

The Board asked that all members of the Board be provided with an up to date copy of our by-laws.

The Board discussed recruitment of persons to fill the Board vacancies. Various board members volunteered to contact groups and individuals to either recruit Board members or ask for nominations. Mary Treacy should be informed of progress on contacts. She should be provided with new and updated contact information.

Contract for Consulting Services.

The Board discussed the draft of a contract under which Mary Treacy would agree to perform certain services for the Board. Amendments to the contract were discussed and approved.

After being moved and seconded, the contract was unanimously approved with the changes as discussed.

Mary’s Thoughts.

Mary Treacy reminded the Board of the document she prepared in which she presented her thoughts on what the Board needs to do to make COGI a successful organization. She asked that the Board keep those thoughts in mind as we continue our work.

FOI Day and the Finnegan Award.

Possible nominees were discussed. Mary Treacy will send copies of the nomination forms to the Board. As per last year’s successful experience, the website and other mechanisms will be used to solicit nominations from the public

Meeting Schedule.

The Board agreed that we should be meeting more often. The Board agreed that it would meet on the following dates and at 4:00 p.m. on those dates: 1/21; 2/4; 2/18; and 3/3. Unless otherwise announced, the meetings will be held at the Midtown Commons Building.

The Board meeting was then adjourned.

Submitted by Don Gemberling, Secretary.

Meeting Notes from Feb 5, 2007

Posted by: on Feb 9, 2007 | No Comments

Braving the frigid February evening approximately 20 hardy advocates met on Monday, February 5, to discuss plans for Sunshine Week and the need for and viability of a Minnesota Coalition on Government Information. Journalists, librarians and reps of nonprofits exchanged ideas for Freedom of Information Day, anticipated legislative initiatives and the scope and mission of a Coalition to address access priorities. The conclusion – that a coalition of individuals and organizations is essential to raise the level of awareness of access as a political issue and to share resources to support openness in government. The group further concluded that a priority is to tend to issues of accountability and monitoring as well as strategic planning for state government resources. Participants discussed membership, funding, purpose and stakeholders and specifics of Sunshine Week including the scheduled webcast on March 12 sponsored by MnCOGI. Don Gemberling, recipient of the 2005 Freedom of Information Award, chaired the meeting.

Don also spoke at the community immediately following sponsored by the Library Science program at the College of St. Catherine. The group viewed the 2006 national dialog on access, “Are We Safer in the Dark” followed by a discussion of access and FOI issues.

Representatives of the Open Document Format Alliance and IBM have been in town meeting with state employees and concerned individuals including reps of MnCOGI. Discussion centered on a legislative proposal (SF131) authored by Senator Don Betzold (DFL-Fridley) The proposed legislation deals specifically with open document format for state government information preservation. Supporters encouraged MnCOGI to capitalize on the opportunity to address access issues in a broader context and with a circle of stakeholders including end-users.

Just such a meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 26, 5:00 p.m. at a St Paul location to be announced. Senator Don Betzold will describe the intent of his legislative proposal. (SF131) Participants will have an opportunity to address needs, priorities and the broader issues of collection, organization, preservation, monitoring and access to state government information. Updated information on this site.