Department of General Services

Open Government Report 2014

To institutionalize a culture of transparent and open government, accountability, and to
expand opportunities for resident participation and collaboration, this Report describes
how the Department of General Services has and will continue to develop and enhance
transparency, public participation, and collaboration. In accordance with Mayor’s Order
2014-170, this report addresses the following topics:

Describe the steps your agency has taken or plans to take to be more transparent.
Please include a description of:

How and to what extent your agency shares information with the public, e.g.
publication of information in the District register and on the agency website,
press releases, and documents in the agency’s FOIAXpress reading room.
The Department of General Services is committed to making information
available to the public and promoting transparency in all operational areas of
the agency. The agency posts in the DC Register all notices for all public
hearings related to the disposition of public assets and conducts public
hearings related to real estate dispositions as well as construction activity at
schools and other municipal facilities. The agency has complied with the
Open Government website requirements mandated by the Executive Office of
the Mayor and currently includes links to salary information, DGS contract
award actions, purchase card transactions, budget information, minutes to
meetings, organizational charts, performance plans, prior FOIA reports, and
staff manuals and instructions.
In addition to mandated information, the DGS website includes a variety of
other valuable information for the public, including a means to search for
information related to District real property assets and specific District
facilities (i.e. recreational facilities and athletic fields). The public can find on
the DGS website all information related to all solicitations for goods and
services as well as for the use of real estate. The website includes links to
DGS’ most recent press releases as well as social media activity.
The agency also now posts some documents of interest to the public in the
agency’s FOIAXpress reading room and currently has nine (9) documents of
interest posted in our reading room. We anticipate increasing these numbers
as we become more acclimated with FOIAXpress.

The District, through the efforts of DGS, has pioneered the most transparent
building energy consumption database in the country. Commercial and
municipal buildings are the city’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions
and consume a hefty energy budget. Build Smart DC (
provides transparency and accountability by detailing, for nearly every public
building: energy costs, raw daily energy usage, building performance
comparisons, efficiency project efficacy tracking and by simply providing a
substantial and unique pool of information from which stakeholders can learn
and build.

How the agency meets its obligations pursuant to the District’s Freedom of
Information Act and Open Meetings Act.
The Department of General Services complies with the requirements of FOIA
by responding to every request in a timely and complete manner. During
fiscal year 2014, DGS received and responded to 98 requests, which included
approximately 267 staff hours. DGS, like many other agencies, recently
adopted FOIAXpress as the means to track FOIA requests. FOIAXpress
enables the public and DGS to track the status of each request. In addition to
FOIAXpress, the agency tracks the time and costs associated with each


Steps your agency will take to increase public access to information.
 The agency will continue to provide the vast variety of information
currently offered through the agency’s website, as well as continuing
our practice of providing quarterly outreach events and posting all
contract awards (including large and small purchases) online.
 The agency is currently standardizing its real estate forms and other
transactional documents. These forms will be available online and
solicitations will also include standard forms or provisions for
 Smart DGS – SmartDGS is the web-based application available to DC
employees to report issues within District facilities. The agency will
continue to promote the use of SmartDGS as a means to receive and
track public and employee requests for services within District



How your agency has taken or plans to take steps to make more of its data
available to the public.
The Department of General Services is working closely with the Office of the
City Administrator (OCA) and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer
(OCTO) to identify a significant number of datasets that OCA and OCTO
expect to publish online later this year. If no dataset from DGS is selected to
be included in this 2014 release, we will continue to work with OCA and
OCTO to identify datasets appropriate to publish in 2015. In the future,
requirements for open data reporting will be provided by the Chief Data


Public Engagement and Participation
Describe the steps your agency has taken or plans to take to enhance or expand
opportunities for the public to participate in agency decision-making. Please include
a description of:

How your agency provides online access to proposed rules and regulations
and secures public input on them. Please list links to specific websites.
DGS did not promulgate rules or regulations during 2014. If the agency elects
to publish proposed rules or regulations, the agency will make such
information available on its website and create a separate email account or
other platform to receive public comments.


How your agency shares information and resources to keep the public
properly informed, e.g. community meetings, public hearings, FAQs, and
ways the public can provide input such as Twitter,, email
DGS currently devotes considerable effort to ensure that community
stakeholders are engaged in the execution of large construction projects and
significant real estate transactions. This engagement includes multiple
community meetings with community stakeholders, ANC Commissioners and
contractors/construction/design professionals and also the distribution of
project documents to stakeholders upon request. DGS is actively engaged on
social media to provide information as well as to gather feedback and
concerns related to agency activities. Community meetings are conducted in
connection with any disposition of District real property and these meetings
include discussions of transaction terms and anticipated community benefits.
As another example, the agency meets with the Eastern Market Advisory

Council monthly to address any concerns related to the management and
operation of the Eastern market. The minutes from these meetings are posted

How your agency identifies stakeholders and invites their participation.
DGS is a member of sixty-seven (67) local listservs, which represent over
33,000 District residents. Being an active member of local listservs has
allowed the agency to continue to proactively identify and communicate the
agency’s brand as well as invite the participation of the community and
stakeholders by engaging residents on upcoming DGS initiatives, events and
Monitoring the listservs also provides the team an opportunity to hear what
the DGS concerns are in the community in real-time and respond in a more
timely fashion. Upon receipt of concerns the team works with sister agencies
and/or internal DGS staff to provide timely responses to resident’s concerns.


Steps your agency will take to improve public engagement and participation
including any new feedback tools or mechanisms the agency is considering.
In FY14, DGS will continue to implement and use web-based social networks
and programs such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn,
Tumblr, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest to maximize outreach, solicit feedback
and enable consistent communication.
We will continue to grow our online presence on social media networks by
encouraging additional DGS employees to establish Twitter accounts as a
method to reach their prospective audiences.
All of our social media networks are used to provide residents with
information on upcoming ribbon cuttings, ground breakings, community
meetings, DGS public hearings, DGS initiatives and DGS solicitations to
name a few. The Twitter and Facebook accounts continue to be an avenue for
residents to provide positive and negative feedback to DGS in real time.


Describe the steps your agency has taken or plans to take to enhance or expand
cooperation among departments, other governmental agencies, the public, and nonprofit and private entities in fulfilling its obligations. Please include a description of:



How your agency currently collaborates with the above parties. Please list
links to specific websites if appropriate. Steps your agency will take to
improve collaboration with the above parties including any new feedback
tools or mechanisms the agency is considering, e.g. prizes, competitions, and
other innovative methods.
DGS has implemented SmartDGS, a web-based application available
to all District employees as a vehicle to report issues within District
facilities, and encourages employees of other agencies throughout the
District to utilize SmartDGS to report and track facility issues.
DGS works closely with other agencies throughout the District of
Columbia government to identify space and to address real estate
needs. This collaboration includes meeting with agencies to determine
programming needs, space requirements, proper disposition of
underutilized real property and minimum suitability requirements for
agency space. Agencies are actively involved in the process of
selecting prospective properties for agency use, from selection of
property to construction of tenant improvements.