The White House launched today what it’s calling the ‘Open Government Dashboard’ that will show how federal agencies are doing in their new mandate to make information more accessible to the public.
President Obama issued the Open Government Directive on December 8, 2009 requiring the creation of the ‘Dashboard” to assess the state of open government in the Executive Branch. The White House Blog announced today the opening of the Dashboard.
We have several ideas on how to open up the refugee resettlement program, which has long remained secretive. The secretiveness has served only to avoid accountability – on the part of the refugee resettlement agencies as well as their government oversight agencies. Refugees and the public have been ill-served by this, while the resettlement agencies and their friends inside government have used it to avoid responsibility, while serving their own private interests.
The State Department has its own page for this process known as OpenState. We’d have a number of suggestions, including:
- Posting PRM refugee resettlement agency monitoring reports on the State Dept. website, and timely.
- Opening up funding considerations to the public instead of just relying on the resettlement agencies to decide how much government funding they should receive.
- Allowing the public from local communities to give their input into local refugee resettlement efforts.
- Allowing refugees to get copies of their refugee resettlement agency case notes any time they wish without having to give reasons.
- Establishing a hotline for the public to report hotspots in the program, and posting those comments where the public can view them.
- Requiring resettlement agencies to show how much of their funding for refugee resettlement is from various government agencies, and how much is from truly private sources (990 forms since 2008 no longer have this simple disclosure). Posting this information on the State Dept. website.
- Providing email addresses or a web form for the public to reach employees of the PRM’s Office of Admissions.
- Disclose in detail all State Dept. funding for each volag and resettlement agency, and make it easily accessible to the public.
- Posting up to date out-migration statistics on the ORR website (refugees moving out from resettlement sites).