Committee on Open Government gets new executive director


Photo by Kevin P. Coughlin, Courtesy of the Governor’s Office
A new executive director has been named for the State Committee on Open Government, which is an important resource for reporters who cover government at the state and local levels. The Committee has been without an executive director since June 2019.

Attorney Shoshana Bewlay will take over as executive director of the state’s Committee on Open Government following the resignation of Robert Freeman, who held the job for decades until accusations of sexual misconduct surfaced last June.

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado announced Bewlay’s appointment on Monday.

After an extensive search by the Committee on Open Government, Rosado says Bewlay was selected for her wide range of experience and depth of knowledge regarding the state’s Freedom of Information, Open Meetings and Personal Privacy Protection laws.

Bewlay, courtesy of Linkedin

“With more than 20 years of broad experience in both the public and private sectors, Ms. Bewlay will be an asset to the Committee on Open Government,” Rosado said. “We are fortunate that Ms. Bewlay is bringing her robust expertise to this role to continue to enhance and educate New Yorkers about transparency within our government. Thank you to Kristin O’Neill and the Committee for their exceptional work over the past several months during this transition period.”

Most recently, Bewlay served as general counsel and chief legal officer at the New York State Office of Information Technology Services, where she oversaw the agency’s legal department. Bewlay also served as an assistant attorney general for seven years and has 10 years experience as a lawyer in private practice.

Bewlay is a member of the New York, Connecticut and California State Bars and is a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Connecticut School of Law.

The Committee on Open Government, which is housed in the Department of State, oversees and advises the government, the public, and members of the news media on Freedom of Information, Open Meetings, and Personal Privacy Protection laws.

The Committee offers guidance in response to phone inquiries, prepares written legal advisory opinions, and provides training to government and other interested groups.

Recommendations on how to improve open government laws are offered in an annual report to governor and the state Legislature.