VCOG's Dick Hammerstrom steps down, acting president named

VCOG president to step down;
acting president named



CONTACT  Megan Rhyne | 540.353.8264 |

The Virginia Coalition for Open Government is saddened to announce that Dick Hammerstrom, an 11-year veteran of VCOG’s Board of Directors and president for the past 3-½ years, is stepping down from both positions for personal reasons.

Paul Casalaspi, vice president of the VCOG board, will take on the role as acting president through the remainder of Hammerstrom’s term, which ends Dec. 31, 2020.

Hammerstrom joined VCOG’s board while serving as local news editor for The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg. After serving in the Army, Hammerstrom had a long career as a journalist, including several years at The Roanoke Times, where he worked alongside Frosty Landon, the paper’s editor at the time, and VCOG’s eventual founding director. Hammerstrom also served as the chair of the Virginia Press Association’s FOI Committee and mentored countless interns who are still serving in the journalism world today.

“Hammer” was a go-to source for questions on FOIA generally and on access to court proceedings and law enforcement records specifically. He talked up VCOG to anyone who would listen and was a constant source of support to VCOG’s executive director, Megan Rhyne.

Casalaspi, the division director for the Library of Virginia’s Information Technology Division, has served on the VCOG board since November 2018.

“VCOG is lucky to have such dedicated board members,” says Rhyne. “Dick and Paul both believe 100% in VCOG’s mission and have given so much of their time and expertise to move the organization always forward. I will miss Dick’s regular presence, but I know he’ll be just a phone call away. Meanwhile, Paul may know more about every aspect of VCOG than anyone, so I know the organization is in capable hands.”


The Virginia Coalition for Open Government engages citizens to monitor the actions of their state and local governments as part of the democratic process. Founded in 1996, the coalition is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization that presses for access to public records, meetings and judicial proceedings