Open Data Policy Collection

Jackson, MS

Executive Order (Sep 1, 2015)

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Mayor's Executive Order on Open Data


BE IT RESOLVED, by the Mayor of the City of Jackson, Mississippi that:

WHEREAS, the adoption of open data improves the provision of citizen services, increases transparency and access to public information, and enhances coordination and efficiencies among City of Jackson (“City”) departments, divisions, and partner organizations; and

WHEREAS, much of the data collected by the City is stored within each Department, impeding the ability to aggregate, analyze and synthesize it to better allocate public resources; and

WHEREAS, access to public information promotes a higher level of civic engagement and allows citizens to provide valuable feedback to government officials regarding local issues; and

WHEREAS, every citizen has the right to prompt, efficient service from the government; and

WHEREAS, this policy also will facilitate the proactive provision of information currently sought through Public Records Act requests; and

WHEREAS, in commitment to these objections, the City will consider public information to be open and will proactively publish data consistent with applicable public records law; and

WHEREAS, information technologies, including web-based and other Internet applications and services, are an essential means for Open Government, and good government generally; and

WHEREAS, the protection of privacy, confidentiality and security will be maintained as a paramount priority while also advancing the government's transparency and accountability through open data.

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as the Mayor of the City of Jackson, it is ordered that:

Section 1: Definitions

a. "Data" means statistical, factual, quantitative, or qualitative information that is regularly maintained or created by or on behalf of a City department.

b. "Open data" means data that is available online, in an open format, with no legal encumbrances on use or reuse.

c. “Open format" means any widely accepted, nonproprietary, platform-independent, machine-readable method for formatting data, which permits automated processing of such data and facilitates search capabilities.

d. “Dataset" means a named collection of related records, with the collection containing data organized or formatted in a specific or prescribed way, often in tabular form.

e. “Protected information" means any dataset or portion thereof to which a department may deny access pursuant to the laws of the State of Mississippi.

f. "Sensitive information" means any data which, if published on the Open Data Portal, could raise privacy, confidentiality or security concerns or have the potential to jeopardize public health, safety or welfare to an extent that is greater than the potential public benefit of publishing that data.

g. "Publishable data" means data which is not protected or sensitive and which has been prepared for release on the open data web portal.

h. “Governance Committee” means the Committee which consists of at least fifteen (15) persons, designated by the Mayor of the City of Jackson. The pool of designees shall consist of City employees and local community leaders.

Section 2: Open Data Initiative

a. The City will develop and implement practices that allow it to:

1. Proactively release all publishable City data, making it freely available in open formats and fully accessible to the broadest range of users;

2. Publish high quality, updated data to encourage maximum use;

3. Maintain an open data web portal that provides a central location for published City data;

4. Minimize limitations on the disclosure of public information while appropriately safeguarding protected and sensitive information; and

5. Encourage innovative uses of the City's publishable data by departments, the public, and other partners.

b. The development and implementation of these practices shall be overseen by the Governance Committee, which will report to the Mayor, or to the Mayor's designee.

c. The requirements of this Order shall apply to any City department, office, administrative unit, commission, board, advisory committee or other division of City government ("Department”) including the records of third party department contractors that create or acquire information, records, or data on behalf of the City.

Section 3: Governance

a. Implementation of the Open Data Initiative will be overseen by the Governance Committee, which will work with the City's departments and divisions to;

1. Identify a lead open data coordinator for each City department. This lead will be responsible for managing that department's participation in the Open Data Initiative;

2. Oversee the creation of a comprehensive inventory of datasets held by each City department which is published to the Open Data Portal and regularly updated;

3. Develop and implement a process for determining the relative level of risk and public benefit associated with potentially sensitive, non-protected information so as to make a determination about whether and how to publish it;

4. Develop and implement a process for prioritizing the release of datasets to the Open Data Portal which takes into account new and existing signals of interest from the public (such as the frequency of FOIA requests), the City's programmatic priorities, existing opportunities for data use in the public interest, and cost;

5. Establish processes for publishing datasets to the Open Data Portal, including processes for ensuring that datasets are reviewed for use-appropriate formats, quality, timeliness, and exclusion of protected and sensitive information;

6. Develop and oversee a routinely updated, public timeline for new dataset publication; and

7. Ensure that published datasets are available for bulk download.

b. In order to increase and improve use of the City's open data, the Governance Committee will actively encourage department and public participation by providing regular opportunities for feedback and collaboration.

Section 4: Web Portal

a. The City will maintain an Open Data Portal where the City's published data will be publicly available.

b. Datasets published on the Open Data Portal shall be placed into the public domain.

Section 5: Open Data Report and Review

a) Within one year of the effective date of this Executive Order, the Governance Committee shall submit an annual Open Data Report to the Mayor. The report shall include an assessment of progress towards achievement of the goals of the City's open data program, a list of datasets currently available on the Open Data Portal, and a description and publication timeline for datasets envisioned to be published on the portal in the following year. Following this initial report, the Governance Committee shall submit an updated report yearly.

b) During the review and reporting period, the Governance Committee should also make suggestions for improving the City's open data management processes in order to ensure that the City continues to move towards the achievement of the policy's goals.


Tony T. Yarber

Mayor, City of Jackson

September 1, 2015

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