OIP’s Annual Report

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 in What's New

The state Office of Information Practices (OIP) has posted its Annual Report for fiscal year 2012, which began on July 1, 2011 and ended on June 30, 2012. The full report can be found on OIP’s website at hawaii.gov/oip/reports.html

The report shows that in FY 2012, OIP increased by 50% the number of training materials freely available on its website and, for the first time, created on-line training videos and power point presentations with voice-overs that government employees, volunteer board members, and the general public can conveniently access 24/7. With the basic training on the UIPA and Sunshine Law readily available on-line, OIP was able to double the number of in-person training sessions to provide more specialized workshops, including OIP’s first-ever continuing legal education courses for attorneys, which were presented on Oahu and the neighbor islands. By training over 265 attorneys to properly counsel their clients on open government laws and procedures, OIP is able to efficiently leverage its four staff attorneys’ time and knowledge. 

Besides increased training, OIP more than quadrupled its communications in order to reach out to the government agencies and general public with timely information regarding OIP and open government news, mainly through e-mails and website postings. Additionally, OIP conducted its first on-line survey of users to learn how it could improve its services, and was honored to learn that more than 95% (48 of 51) respondents reported being satisfied (30) or very satisfied (9) with OIP’s services overall. 

OIP’s emphasis on training and communication resulted in greater agency and public awareness of Hawaii’s open government requirements and a more than 30% increase in requests for OIP’s assistance in FY 2012, including a 39% increase in attorney of the day calls. Despite this increased workload, OIP was still able to issue 25 opinions (2 formal; 23 informal) and reduce its case backlog by 7%. To reduce uncertainty and potential litigation concerning agency appeal rights, OIP also successfully obtained the passage and enactment of its legislative proposal in 2012 to clarify the process and provide a strong standard of review in judicial appeals challenging OIP’s decisions. Moreover, OIP obtained passage of its other legislative proposal, which created two new permitted interactions that will help to promote greater public participation in government, better communication between the public and board members, and a fuller understanding of the issues and various perspectives by board members.

No one person, alone, could have accomplished all that OIP has done in the past year. OIP Director Cheryl Kakazu Park hopes that you will join her in applauding OIP’s dedicated staff, who was recognized as an honoree for the state’s 2012 Team of the Year: Staff Attorneys Carlotta Amerino, Lorna Aratani, Jennifer Brooks, and Linden Joesting; Legal Assistant Dawn Shimabukuro; Administrative Assistant Cindy Yee; and Records Report Specialist Michael Little. By embracing change and working together as a team, OIP has been able to efficiently leverage its limited resources to proactively provide advice, training, and assistance to more government agencies and the general public, and to fairly balance competing interests through an informal and free dispute resolution process that protects the public’s right to know under Hawaii’s open government laws. 

OIP looks forward to another productive year ahead and wishes everyone a Hauoli Makahiki Hou!