Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)

Chief Freedom of Information Act Officers Council Meeting Minutes – October 14, 2020

The Chief FOIA Officers (CFO) Council Meeting convened virtually at 10:10 AM on October 14, 2020. A livestream video of the meeting was made available, and in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 552(k)(6)(B), the meeting was open to the public “permit[ting] interested persons to appear and present oral and written statements to the Council.”

All meeting materials are available on the Office of Information Policy’s (OIP) and Office of Government Information Services’ (OGIS) websites at: foia-officers-council and council.


  • David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
  • Bobby Talebian, Director, OIP, Department of Justice (DOJ), Council Co-Chair. Mr. Talebian also provided remarks on behalf of Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General of the United States, Claire McCusker Murray
  • Alina M. Semo, Director, OGIS, NARA, Council Co-Chair
  • Michael Sarich, FOIA Director, Veterans Health Administration, Council Technology Committee Co-Chair
  • Eric F. Stein, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Global Information Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, Council Technology Committee Co-Chair


  • The meeting opened at 10:10 AM. Ms. Semo welcomed everyone to the first virtual Council meeting and briefly outlined the agenda for the meeting.
  • Mr. Ferriero provided brief opening remarks and recalled the history of the FOIA statute and noted Congress's desire for a balance between disclosure and protection, as set out and evidenced by the FOIA statute's legislative history. He explained that the FOIA Advisory Committee is now in its fourth term. He concluded by noting the effects of the COVID pandemic on current FOIA administration, and that collaboration and innovation will be key to meet the definition of "FOIA success."
  • Mr. Talebian passed along the regards of DOJ’s Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General and Chief FOIA Officer, Claire McCusker Murray, who emphasized the Department’s support of agency FOIA programs, encouraged each agency to continue working diligently to improve FOIA processing, and thanked each agency for its efforts and innovation during the current global pandemic.

Updates from the Office of Information Policy (OIP), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)

  • Mr. Talebian summarized government-wide FOIA reporting updates, including the recent issuance of OIP's Summary and Assessment of Agencies' 2020 Chief FOIA Officer (CFO) Reports. He provided upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report and 2021 Chief FOIA Office Report reporting deadlines.
  • Mr. Talebian shared numerous completed website enhancements aimed at streamlining user experiences and increasing the functionality of reporting tools. He also reminded agencies of the interoperability requirements with He outlined forthcoming functions aimed to gain insight into user experiences, as well as an initiative to expand searchability of FOIA Libraries from
  • Mr. Talebian informed attendees of numerous existing online OIP resources for agencies, including the Department of Justice Guide to the FOIA, FOIA Court Decision Summaries, and the FOIA Self-Assessment Toolkit, including two soon-to- be released modules on Appeals and Proactive Disclosure. He also noted the reoccurring Best Practices Workshops, focusing on various FOIA topics and geared towards determining best practices among agencies. He welcomed suggestions for future topics and made a call for submissions.

Updates from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

  • Ms. Semo described the role of OGIS in FOIA administration and the range of efforts conducted to improve the FOIA process, including conducting dispute resolution, engaging in outreach, reviewing agency compliance, co-chairing the Council and leading the FOIA Federal Advisory Committee.
  • Ms. Semo provided an overview of the more than twenty recommendations outlined in the 2018-2020 FOIA Advisory Committee's July 2020 report to the Archivist of the United States. Committee recommendations were made on a broad range of topics and directed to various entities, including Congress, the CFO Council, the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), NARA/OGIS, and OIP. Ms. Semo noted that OGIS intends to add an electronic dashboard feature to its website to keep track of the status of each individual recommendation.

Solicitation of Chief FOIA Officers (CFO) Council Committee on Cross-Agency Collaboration and Innovation

  • In consideration of a recommendation from the FOIA Advisory Committee, Ms. Semo and Mr. Talebian formed a new committee titled "Committee for Cross-Agency Collaboration and Innovation." Ms. Semo and Mr. Talebian made a call for volunteers to serve on the new committee. Its members will research and propose cross-agency grant programs and funding sources, create federal career paths for FOIA professionals, and promote models to align agency resources with agency transparency.

Open Agency Questions/Discussion

  • Ms. Semo and Mr. Talebian opened the floor to agency discussion, and the speakers responded to various questions and comments via WebEx chat, telephone, and YouTube livestream.
  • Mr. Talebian explained that he and Ms. Semo plan to have meetings more regularly with the CFO Council, and they would like to know what agencies would like to discuss during such meetings. He noted that the work of the CFO Council is important, and the success of FOIA administration across the federal government depends on each other.

Update from Chief FOIA Officers Council Technology Committee Co-Chairs, Michael Sarich and Eric F. Stein

  • Mr. Stein provided an overview of the history of the Technology Committee's creation and identified its current governing structure, which includes approximately forty members participating on eight different working groups, each focused on improving FOIA processing through use of technology.
  • Mr. Sarich and Mr. Stein took turns outlining the purpose and efforts of each of the eight working groups, including:
    • Collaborative Tools;
    • 508 Compliance;1
    • FOIA Searches;
    • FOIAXpress;
    • FOIAonline2;
    • FOIA and Classified Information;
    • Artificial Intelligence; and
    • Video Redactions
  • Mr. Sarich shared five early findings from the Video Redactions working group, as shown on the slides, and noted that a full presentation will be provided in the near future. He explained that each individual working group intended to complete its initial written charter by the end of November 2020.
  • Ms. Semo and Mr. Talebian opened the floor to agency discussion, and the speakers responded to various questions and comments via WebEx chat, telephone, and YouTube livestream

Public Comments

  • Ms. Semo and Mr. Talebian opened the floor to public discussion, and the speakers responded to the various questions and comments received via WebEx chat, telephone, and YouTube livestream.


  • Mr. Talebian and Ms. Semo thanked everyone for attending.
  • Ms. Semo closed the meeting at 11:56 AM.

1 After this meeting, the Collaborative Tools and 508 Compliance working groups combined into one group: "508 Compliance and Collaborative Tools."

2 The Council or Technology Committee does not endorse any products, though recognizes through the creation of these working groups that FOIAXpress and FOIAonline are common platforms that many agencies use.

Chief FOIA Officers Council Meeting October 14, 2020 Registered Attendees
(This list consists of individuals who registered to attend the meeting)

First Name Last Name Agency (if applicable)
Danielle Adams CFPB
Autumn Agans FCA
David Ajua USDA
Kenneth Allen  
Candace Ambrose FRB
Towana Ayres Navy
Ray Azarm  
Rosemary Bajorek CFTC
Shelley Baker USDA
Davonya Barnes NWTRB
Lisa Barton USITC
Nathania Bates SBC
Diane Bath  
Brenda Beck  
Meltin Bell  
Michael Bell DOT
Sharon Bellamy USITC
Renate Benham State
Evonne Bennett IHS
Michael Binder  
Mark Bittner  
Adrianne Blake DOJ
Lisa Blum SSA
Michele Bouziane CSB
Diane Bowers Treasury
Mark Brook USDA
Robin Brooks HHS
Nicole Brugato  
Virgina Burke Peace Corps
Cindy Cafaro DOI
Stephanie Carr DOD
Monica Carter-Johnson DHS
Caitlin Cater NEH
Judy Cearley USGS
Noelle Chadwick OSHRC
Stacy Cheney NTIA
Giny Cheong GAO
Kathleen Christian LBM
Joo Chung DOD
Monica Chyn SSA
Anthony Clemons HRSA
Samantha Cohen SSA
LaRima Coleman USDA
Beatriz Collazo USDA
Caelan Conant FTC
Rebecca Conner AMTRAK
Matt Cox USTDA
Ingrid Cruz Diaz FDA
Sarah Cunanan FDIC
Mahala Dar OSC
Anna Davis FMCS
Erin Dawson NSF
Ashley Demchak PRC
Stacey Demps-Barrett FMSHRC
Mark Dorgan DOD
Edward Dukes  
Judith Dupre FDIC
Joan Durocher NCD
Megan Dwyre NARA
Stacy Easter FHFA
Jane Elbert  
Timothy Epp EPA
Tracey Fay ONRR
Cecilia Fiermonte HHS
Desiree Flippins NEA
Jodi Foor NARA
Tiffany Ford OPM
Stephanie Fox NASA
Whitney Frazier-Jenkins PBGC
Gregory Friedland TTB
Vera Fry DHS
Peter Garavuso FRB
Gorka Garcia-Malene NIH
Stephanie Garner EEOC
Brooke Geller USDA
Josh Gerstein  
Susan Gillett NARA
Latrice Gilliard HRSA
Christine Gordon Lawson FBI
Nikki Gramian NASA
Alexis Graves USDA
John Gross NMB
Helen Guyton LSC
Amanda Haas FRTIB
Darren Hall USGS
Patricia Hargrave DNFSB
Kohl Harrington  
Torrie Harris GSA
Elizabeth Harris NCUA
Jessie Hartman NARA
Jory Heckman  
Donna Hellberg DOJ
Dianna Henry  
Guled Hersi  
Angela Hertel DOJ
Tyler Hillman VA
Marthea Hodge USPS
Stuart Hoff FDIC
Thomas Hohenthaner MCC
Jeremy Holmes  
Jennifer Hu  
Jacqueline Hudson DOT
Crystal Hundleyevans EPA
John Kiem Huynh  
LaToya Isaac  
Lennell Jackson EXIM
Tracy Jackson  
Gretchen Jacobs Access Board
Toyia Johnson FERC
Doloras Johnson VA
Gbemende Johnson  
Amanda Joiner EAC
Nate Jones  
Janelle Jordan USDA
Judy Kaleta DOT
Homer Keliiwaiwaiole DOD
Timi Kenealy AbilityOne
James Killens VA
Melissa King GAO
Justin Klinger  
Ana Kocur RRB
Sarah Kotler FDA
Christopher Laver PRC
Ryan Law Treasury
David Lee FHFA
Jeanetta Lee DOJ
Glenn Lewis MCC
Travis Lewis GSA
Jennifer Li ABMC
Christopher Lucy  
Ana Liza Malabanan NOAA
Carmen Mallon SEC
Arnetta Mallory DOJ
Carol Maloney HRSA
Nadine Mancini OSHRC
Natalia Mandrus IAF
Manjunath Ramaswamy Manju  
Wendy Marshall Access Board
Heather McClane IHS
Shawne McGibbon ACUS
Ryan McQuighan NOAA
Regina Metz NCUA
Kristine Minami Education
Elizabeth Mitchell AFRH
Albert Mokhiber  
Abioye Mosheim CPSC
Susan Murphy GAO
Michelle Murray SSA
Fon Muttamara MSPB
Sara Nekou OGE
David Nelson NRC
Amy Nicholas NCD
Tim Nusraty OMB
Chris Oehrle STB
Ramona Oliver DOL
Stephannie Oriabure NARA
Rebecca Osborne FLRA
Tim Osumi NIGC
Elise Packard EPA
Candice Palen BPA
Bobbie Parsons DOC
Peggy Parvand PRC
Camilla Perry PBGC
Robbie Perry USDA
Rosanna Piccirilli` FDIC
Phyllis Pires DOD
Nancy Platt NLRB
Samuel Poole PRC
Marvis President USDA
Angela Purnell HHS
Catrina Purvis DOC
Lisa Pyle Treasury
Tamara Qureshi CSB
Susan Raposa CFA
Atticus Reaser CIGIE
Monique Ricker USTR
Mae Ridges IMLS
Antionette Robertson USAID
Lawrence Ruzow ONHIR
Daria Ryazhskikh  
Michelle Sager GAO
Dwight Sanders  
Bridget Sanders DOL
Joe Scanlon NARA
Jeremy Schmidt USDA
Lynnea Schurkamp DHS
Loretta Schuster ASC
Gregg Schwind FHFA
Margaret Serrano  
Greg Sharma-Holt  
Mark Siford SEC
Alecia Sillah USAID
Nichole Skoyles OPIC
Sanquetta Slater ONDCP
Kevin Smith EPA
Rachel Spector DOL
Bill Spencer MSPB
Regina Stabile NIH
Cheryl Stadel-Bevans HUD
chantay stanley DOD
Dione Stearns  
Gary Stern NARA
Tyler Stewart DOD
Eric Styles DFC
Katrina Sutphin FEC
Buck Sutter GCERC
Kristen Swisher  
Amanda Tanner  
Ravin Tatman VA
Stephanie Tell DHS
Amanda Tempel DHS
Lisa Terry EXIM
Michael Toland FDIC
Stephen Vaden USDA
Wendy Valdes  
Madeline Van Nostrand DOT
Regina Vann State
Kimberly Veach GSA
Jane Virga FCA
James Walker  
Denise Wallace HRSA
Agnes Wanderer DOI
Heidi Wanner BLM
Tamiko Watkins MCC
Shawntay Watson NARA
Susan Weetman State
Sarah Wessel PRC
Jeanean West CSOSA
Patricia Weth NLRB
William White IRS
Wanda Williams NARA
Betty Lou Wingo SSS
Jeannette Wise NARA
Nicholas Wittenberg OSTP
Nicholas Wittenberg EPA
Jimmy Wolfrey DHS
Eric Wooden RRB
Breona Woods FTC
Wadi Yakhour SSS
Aswathi Zachariah IAF
Hugo Zia FDIC
Mary Zimmerman SSA
Elvis Zornic