Obama creates public engagement office

New office will use interactive tools

The White House Office of Public Liaison will change its name and use blog postings and other interactive elements as the primary way the public can participate in the work of the president, according to a White House announcement.

President Barack Obama ordered the office's new mission and renamed the organization the Office of Public Engagement, White House officials said May 11.

The office will work with the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in the public outreach effort, and its current leadership will stay on to carry out the new mission.

“This office will seek to engage as many Americans as possible in the difficult work of changing this country, through meetings and conversations with groups and individuals held in Washington and across the country," Obama said in a video posted on the White House’s Web site.

The Office of Public Engagement will allow the public to offer stories and ideas regarding issues that concern them and share their views on topics such as health care, energy and education, according to the White House.

In addition to its traditional operations, the office will focus on getting information from Americans outside the Washington, D.C., area through public events and activities on the Web site.

The office has helped develop outreach efforts that include a community health forum in Michigan and a town hall meeting in California, according to White House officials.

They also announced the release of the Citizens’ Briefing Book, a project that began during the presidential transition and allowed the public to submit ideas for dealing with issues. Visitors to the transition Web site ranked each idea and had the opportunity to submit their comments. The results can be viewed at www.whitehouse.gov/ope.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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