DHS staffer takes the helm of FOIA ombudsman office

National Archives (NARA/Flickr)

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The National Archives has hired two top-level officials who will be tasked with helping the public better understand the interworkings of government.

This week, James Holzer started his new job as director of the Office of Government Information Services, which is know as the Freedom of Information Act ombudsman for the government. Oliver Potts was also brought in as the director of the Federal Register, a newspaper of sorts for the government that publishes the official text of federal laws, presidential documents and administrative regulations.

holzer
James Holzer, director of the Office of Government Information Services (NARA)

Before coming to the National Archives and Records Administration, Holzer worked as the senior director of FOIA operations for the Department of Homeland Security. There, he advised leaders on FOIA compliance and information disclosure issues. He also led the launch of the department’s FOIA tracking, processing and reporting case management system.

DHS scored just below the “satisfactory” threshold in a FOIA scorecard from the Center for Effective Government earlier this year. Though, DHS made the largest improvement over the previous year’s scores compared to other agencies the center evaluated. Last month, DHS launched the government’s first FOIA app.

Holzer served in the Air Force for 13 years on active duty, and was deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and to Afghanistan in 2007. He has a bachelor’s in business from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a master’s in human relations from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate of management at University of Maryland, University College.

Holzer replaces the well-regarded founding director of the office, Miriam Nisbet, who retired late last year.

Meanwhile, Potts most recently served as deputy executive secretariat at the Department of Health and Human Services, where he oversaw the agency’s regulatory agenda and managed the secretary’s policy review system and records management operations. He also served as director of the Civil Remedies Division, an administrative law tribunal at HHS.

Director-Potts
Oliver Potts, director of the Federal Register (NARA)

Potts earned a bachelor’s in government and politics from George Mason University and a law degree from the University of Connecticut.

Former Federal Register chief Charley Barth also left the agency late last year to take a job as executive director of enterprise content management at engine maker Cummins Inc.

“Oliver Potts will continue our work in modernizing the Federal Register, making it THE source for the American people to daily monitor and participate in their Government,” U.S. Archivist David S. Ferriero said in a release.

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Agencies, Government IT News, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), workforce
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