Reinvent Albany Calls for Releasing Public Dataset of All 904+ Reports City Agencies Must Publish
Watchdog Supports Reports and Advisory Board Review Commission (RABRC) Replacing Reports with Open Data and Information on Websites
Reinvent Albany called for the public release of the listing of reports mandated by law in testimony today before the Report and Advisory Board Review Commission (RABRC). The little known commission was convened by the Mayor’s Office of Operations earlier this year to do away with government reports and advisory boards in New York City law. RABRC was approved as a permanent commission in the New York City Charter by the voters in 2010, after a Charter Revision Commission convened by then Mayor Michael Bloomberg put it on the ballot.
“Reinvent Albany supports RABRC’s mission of eliminating reports that have outlived their usefulness or could be replaced by making data available proactively online,” said Alex Camarda, Senior Policy Advisor. “But the public deserves to first see a listing of every report required by city law, which agency must write it, and its purpose and requirements.” A bill, Int. No. 828 of 2018, introduced by Councilmember Cabrera would require a similar public dataset listing reports but RABRC could release the dataset without legislation.
The Mayor’s Office of Operations estimates there are at least 904 required reports and 60 advisory boards in city law, mostly as a result of laws passed by the City Council. The City Council has introduced at least 88 bills in 2018 alone requiring reports of city agencies.
Reinvent Albany believes City Council should introduce and pass far fewer bills requiring reports, and instead acquire information through informal requests, subpoenas, oversight hearings, and ensuring government agencies follow the city’s Open Data Law to proactively release data in the city’s Open Data portal. The Council should focus more on substantive legislation, and city agencies should be more cooperative and proactive in releasing information.
All government reports can be accessed in the The Department of Record Information Services’ (DORIS) Government Publications Portal to the extent they are provided to DORIS by city agencies. DORIS has also not made available a dataset listing all the reports on its portal. Users must search the portal by agency or report name to identify government reports.