FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: OGIS Director Resigns After 9 Months; Returning to DHS

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Sources: Obama transparency official stepping down

By Josh Gerstein, Politico, May 6, 2016

An official tasked with improving the operation of the Freedom of Information Act across the Obama Administration is resigning after less than a year on the job, several sources briefed on the move told POLITICO.

James Holzer took over last August as director of the Office of Government Information Services, which serves as an ombudsman between federal agencies and FOIA requesters. The office also conducts audits of agencies' FOIA operations and proposes ways to streamline those processes.

Two sources said Holzer is returning to a position at the Department of Homeland Security, where he worked before joining OGIS, a part of the National Archives.

Holzer was not immediately available for an interview. An Archives spokeswoman declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing personnel issues.

The official's departure caught several close observers of transparency issues by surprise.

"It’s difficult to imagine that he wasn’t asked for at least one-year commitment in order to take such a position so it's remarkable his tenure lasted no more than nine months," said Dan Metcalfe, director of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University's law school.

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