Open records ombudsman position now full time

OLYMPIA — The top lawyer for the state agency overseeing political spending is leaving to become Washington’s legal adviser on public records and open meeting laws.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Monday he’s tapped Nancy Krier to be his full-time open government assistant attorney general. She is currently the general counsel for the state Public Disclosure Commission.

In her new job, Krier will be the go-to person for the public, media and government agencies on disputes involving the interpretation of and compliance with state laws governing the release of public records and conduct of public meetings.

“Nancy brings a wealth of experience and a passion for transparency in government,” Ferguson said in a statement.

In 2005, former attorney general Rob McKenna created this ombudsman position then converted it to a part-time job in 2011 because of budget cuts. Ferguson announced in September he would restore it to full time.

“Government is better served when the public is informed and able to engage in our democracy,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Government agencies better serve the people when they fully understand and follow open government laws.”

Krier, 53, earned degrees in political science and journalism at the University of North Dakota then attended the University of Washington School of Law. As an undergraduate, she said she worked as a reporter and managing editor of her college newspaper. She also said she interned for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

This new job allows her to marry her interests in law and assuring an open government for the public.

“As a journalism major and former reporter, my history of supporting open government pre-dates my law practice,” Krier said in a statement. “I have both a historical perspective on the need for open government and a practical understanding of the current challenge that open government efforts present.”

Krier said in an interview she wants to improve materials the state posts online and provides public officials about the public records and open meeting laws.

“I will be trying to push out information so people better understand what the laws are and have the tools to follow them,” she said.

For Krier, the new job is a return to a former agency. She started working in the Attorney General’s Office in 1986. In 1999, she was assigned to be the commission’s lawyer. She has been the Public Disclosure Commission’s in-house general counsel since 2007.

The ombudsman job has been vacant since August when Tim Ford departed to work for the state Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Krier, an Olympia resident, will begin her $110,000-a-year job in December.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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