Governor Mark Gordon announced today he has appointed Ruth Van Mark as Wyoming’s first Public Records Ombudsman.
The position was created with the passage of Senate File 0057. The Public Records Ombudsman will serve as a resource for public agencies who receive record requests. The ombudsman will also mediate disputes, receive complaints related to whether good cause existed for an agency to not meet the 30-day response deadline, and determine if records are privileged or confidential by law.
“Ms. Van Mark impressed me with her perspective on public interface,” Governor Gordon said. “She is poised to strike the right balance in appreciating the parameters of the Wyoming Public Records Act and appreciating the importance this administration has placed on transparency.”
A Wyoming native, Van Mark has served as Minority Staff Director for the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and as Majority Staff Director for the EPW Subcommittee on Transportation. She also served for six years as Legislative Director for US Senator James Inhofe. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Bethel University and a Masters in Public Administration from George Mason University.
“I am excited about the opportunity to assist Governor Gordon in bringing Wyoming state government closer to the people,” Van Mark said. “The Legislature has wisely recognized the need to give citizens an additional avenue to address their requests for information and questions. The Governor’s goal is transparency and respect for the law, and this new position provides that avenue.”
In the near future Van Mark will be interfacing with state agencies and their Public Information Officers to review public records processes and procedures. She will also be developing a standardized process for dispute resolutions, conducting outreach with associations impacted by the Wyoming Public Records Act, and providing guidance to them on how to respond to public records requests in a timely manner.