2014 award winners

PRESS RELEASE - for immediate release


Open government group announces 2014 award winners

A Fairfax mom and the state’s library will be honored Nov. 14



The Virginia Coalition for Open Government is pleased to announce the winners of its 2014 open government awards.


The Laurence E. Richardson citizen award winner is Barbara Brown of Fairfax County for her work in bringing transparency and accountability to the Fairfax County Public Schools and its music Booster clubs. Brown embarked on a four-year journey to separate out the money raised by the  non-profits and the money they were collecting for classes and school-sponsored activities, which constituted public funds under the Virginia educational laws. All the  money was being handled in the non-profit bank accounts, and the school system had no way to access what were public funds and thought they had no way to monitor the public records held by the Boosters relating to the usage of the funds. Brown continued her work, which included several battles on the state's open records act along the way, even after her daughter graduated from high school. Today, FCPS is implementing policies and procedures to ensure that the public funds are in public bank accounts and that the public records are maintained in FCPS-owned records and computer systems.


In the government category, VCOG is recognizing the Kaine Email Archive Project at the Library of Virginia. A team of archivists at the library has, for the past four years, combed through the 1.3 million messages sent and received by the members of Governor Timothy Kaine’s administration, including correspondence from the former governor himself. Along the way, the team has painstakingly reviewed each message to add context, organize related topics and recreate chains of messages by different people on a single event, such as the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. The project is the first of its kind in the country and has been recognized for its ambition and originality by national groups.


The winners will be presented with plaques at VCOG’s annual conference, Nov. 14, at the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke. For details about and registration for the conference, visit www.opengovva.org/vcogs-annual-conference-Roanoke


VCOG is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to making the records, meetings and proceedings of state and local government as transparent and accessible as possible so that citizens may fully engage in the democratic process.


Questions may be directed to Megan Rhyne at 540-353-8264 or mrhyne@opengovva.org