Attorney General Schneider Announces Hiring of Public Access Ombudsman

September 7, 2012

AUGUSTA — Attorney General William Schneider announced today that attorney Brenda Kielty has been selected to serve as Maine’s first Public Access Ombudsman.

The responsibilities of the Public Access Ombudsman include responding to informal inquiries about Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, working to resolve complaints, preparing educational materials about the law in collaboration with the Right to Know Advisory Committee, and making recommendations about improving access to public records and proceedings. The Ombudsman position, while created by the Legislature in 2006, has been unfunded until this year.

“The public’s right to know about the activities of government is a cornerstone of democracy. We look forward to having the means to provide more effective information and assistance to citizens about using the law,” said Attorney General Schneider.

Ms. Kielty, previously a Special Assistant to the Attorney General, has worked as an educator, a mediator and an attorney, and serves as a member of the RSU #5 Board. “I’m very excited about the opportunity this position will give me to make use of the different parts of my background, and particularly to work toward expanding the public’s awareness of the law as a tool that can increase their participation in government.”

While Ms. Kielty transitions into her new position, the Office of the Attorney General continues to answer questions about the public’s rights to access records and meetings at 207-626-8800.


CONTACT: Linda Pistner, 626-8820

Governor candidates all sign Maine Freedom of Information Coalition pledge

For Release  9-27-10

Contacts: Mal Leary, President MFOIC
[email protected]; 621-0702
Judy Meyer, Vice President MFOIC
[email protected]; 689-2902

(AUGUSTA) — All five candidates for Governor have signed the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition pledge to support open government and public access to government records. The gubernatorial candidates, as well as all legislative candidates,were sent letters in August urging they sign the pledge.

“We are pleased that all five of the candidates for Governor on the November ballot have endorsed our call for open government,” said MFOIC President Mal Leary. “We are also very pleased that all have gone on record with their own initiatives to improve the access of the public to government records and proceedings.”

The MFOIC mailed pledge forms to each candidate and has been posting the names of all candidates who signed the pledge on its website, .

“A pledge of support for open government is a pledge of support for Maine people,” said Judith Meyer, Vice President of the MFOIC. “It’s also an acknowledgement that accountability is important at all levels of our government.”

Leary said several of the candidates for Governor expressed the view that the pledge did not go as far as they will in promoting open government, should they be elected Governor.

While scores of legislative candidates have responded to the pledge request, MFOIC is urging those that have not signed to do so and join the growing number of democrats, republicans, greens and independents that have signed the pledge.

The Maine Freedom of Information Coalition believes that government best serves the public when it operates in the most open manner possible. Our members, which include media organizations, lawyers, academicians, public-policy groups and like-minded individuals, strive to ensure that the public is informed about government actions to the fullest extent possible.

The MFOIC will continue to update its website through Election Day and urges Mainers to take the time to see if their local candidates have signed the open government pledge.


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