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American Society of Access Professionals Officers Elected

The American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP), a twenty-year-old professional organization comprised of both government and nongovernment members of the Freedom of Information Act-related government information community, has elected its new officers and board of directors members for the coming calendar year.

Elected as president of ASAP for the year 2002 was Patrice McDermott, an assistant director in the Office of Government Relations of the American Library Association and formerly of OMB Watch, who served as ASAP's vice president during the past two years. ASAP's vice president for the coming year will be Judy Wise, principal FOIA officer for the Naval Sea Systems Command, who served on ASAP's board of directors during the past two years.

Former ASAP president Rebecca Daugherty, the director of the Freedom of Information Service Center at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, will serve as secretary of the organization in 2002. Outgoing ASAP president Rosario (Ross) Cirrincione, the longtime director of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts Division at the Department of Health and Human Services, see FOIA Update, Vol. XIV, No. 3, at 15 ("FOIA Focus: Ross Cirrincione"), will be an ex officio member of ASAP's board of directors as its immediate past president. He served as ASAP's president during each of the past two years.

The final new ASAP officer is Karen M. Finnegan, an attorney with the Office of Information and Privacy, who will serve as the organization's treasurer. Of the four, Ms. Finnegan is the only incoming ASAP officer who is new to a leadership position in the organization. She holds a rare distinction in the access professional community in that she first worked in the access field as a paralegal for several years, then left it to attend law school, and then returned to that area of law as a Justice Department attorney.

Also elected were two new members of ASAP's board of directors, each of whom will serve a two-year term. The first is Harry Hammitt, who is both the editor and publisher of Access Reports, a biweekly newsletter on government information-related subjects, and who has been very active in ASAP during its twenty years. He, too, is a former president of the organization.

The second newly elected ASAP board member is Marilyn L. Falksen, a senior Freedom of Information Act specialist in the Initial Request Unit of the Office of Information and Privacy. She won the second ASAP board seat in a close contest over four other candidates for the position. Hammitt was the top vote-getter for the two open board seats, while the top vote-getters for the officer positions, which were uncontested, were Daugherty and Finnegan.

Continuing on as the other two members of ASAP's board of directors, as they complete the second year of their two-year terms, are Miriam M. Nisbet, Legislative Counsel for the American Library Association, and Charlene Wright Thomas, of the Internal Revenue Service. Stepping down at the end of two years of service on ASAP's board are immediate past president Margaret Ann Irving, Privacy Advocate at the Internal Revenue Service, and Pamela K. Davis, of the Department of Labor. All four are former members of the Office of Information and Privacy.

This year's ASAP election was delayed due to the same type of difficulties with mail delivery that have plagued most federal agencies in the Washington, D.C. area for more than two months. See FOIA Post, "Anthrax Mail Emergency Delays FOIA Correspondence" (posted 11/30/01). Consequently, the results were not tabulated until December 21, after ASAP held its annual symposium this year.

ASAP's next such program, its "Western Regional Training Conference," will be held on March 4-6, 2002, at the Stardust Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Information on that and other ASAP training programs is made available by ASAP through its home page on its Web site -- see FOIA Post, "FOIA Training Opportunities, Fiscal Year 2002" (posted 9/14/01) -- which usually is devoted to ASAP's training activities.   (posted 12/28/01)

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