Oregon governor must ensure next public records advocate has free rein

When Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took office, she pledged to greatly increase government transparency.

And to that end, she created a public records advocate’s position, someone who would be an independent representative of the people in public records matters. In the time she served, Ginger McCall has helped journalists and Oregonians navigate the state’s public records law and obtain the records they requested.

That work not only promoted transparency, but also saved thousands of public dollars that could have been spent in lawsuits forcing compliance with the law.

But apparently McCall’s work was not popular with Brown’s staff. McCall resigned Sept. 9, citing interference from Brown’s staff. Memos from McCall show how the governor’s staff tried to interfere with her work.

SPJ Oregon Territory Chapter has already condemned the interference in McCall’s work and urged Brown to ensure the next advocate is given the free rein the position requires. And I join with them in calling for Brown to ensure the public records advocate is working on behalf of the public and not trying to protect Brown’s image.

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