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Transparency board to hold open meeting

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It may say something about federal attitudes toward openness that the Government Accountability and Transparency Board typically meets in secret.

But for the record, the board—launched by the Obama administration two years ago to tackle big-picture spending issues—will hold a public meeting next month. The purpose is to let members of the public weigh in with presentations “regarding accountability and transparency for federal expenditures made through contracts and grants,” according to a recent Federal Register notice.

Among the questions on which the board wants input at the Jan. 22 meeting:

“What questions are you trying to answer with federal spending information?”

“Where does federal spending information need clearer instructions or explanation?”

“What suggestions do you have for prioritizing federal spending information?”

Those interested in attending the meeting—to  be held at the General Services Administration’s regional office in downtown Washington, D.C.—should send an email to federaltransparency@ratb.gov and write “January 22,2014 GAT Board RSVP” in the subject line. The Register notice has more info for people wanting to make presentations.

The upcoming public get-together appears to be a first for the panel, which is mainly made up of agency inspectors general and operates under the purview of the Office of Management and Budget. Its mission is to build on lessons learned from the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (created to monitor spending from the 2009 stimulus bill) as well as to study ways to reduce waste and make spending more transparent, with Vice President Joe Biden’s office getting monthly updates, according to the relevant executive order. The board is currently chaired by Richard Ginman, director of procurement and acquisition policy at the Defense Department, according to its website.

While its sessions are closed and generally not announced in advance, the board later posts minutes online; the most recent compilation is from October. The site makes no mention of next month’s meeting.

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