The National Endowment for the Arts utilizes advice and recommendations of advisory committees in carrying out many of its functions and activities.
The Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (Pub. L. 92-463), governs the formation, use, conduct, management, and accessibility to the public of committees formed to advise and assist the Federal Government. Section 10 of the Act specifies that department and agency heads shall make adequate provisions for participation by the public in the activities of advisory committees, except to the extent a determination is made in writing by the department or agency head that a portion of an advisory committee meeting may be closed to the public in accordance with subsection (c) of section 552b of Title 5, United States Code (the Government in the Sunshine Act).
It is the policy of the National Endowment for the Arts to make the fullest possible disclosure of records to the public, limited only by obligations of confidentiality and administrative necessity. Consistent with this policy, meetings of the following Endowment advisory committees will be open to the public except for portions dealing with the review, discussion, evaluation, and/or ranking of grant applications: Arts Advisory Panel and the Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions.
The portions of the meetings involving the review, discussion, evaluation and ranking of grant applications may be closed to the public for the following reasons:
The Endowment Advisory Committees listed above review and discuss applications for financial assistance. While the majority of applications received by the agency are submitted by organizations, all of the applications contain the names of and personal information relating to individuals who will be working on the proposed project. In reviewing the applications, committee members discuss the abilities of the listed individuals in their fields, the reputations of the listed individuals among their colleagues, the ability of the listed individuals to carry through on projects they start, and their background and performance. Consideration of these matters is essential to the review of the artistic excellence and artistic merit of an application.
Consequently, in the interest of meeting our obligation to consider artistic excellence and artistic merit when reviewing applications for financial assistance:
It is hereby determined in accordance with the provisions of section 10(d) of the Act that the disclosure of information regarding the review, discussion, and evaluation of applications for financial assistance as outlined herein is likely to disclose information of a personal nature the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
Therefore, in light of the above, I have determined that the above referenced meetings or portions thereof, devoted to review, discussion, evaluation, and/or ranking of applications for financial assistance may be closed to the public in accordance with subsection (c)(6) of section 552b of Title 5, United States Code.
The staff of each committee shall prepare a summary of any meeting or portion not open to the public within three (3) business days following the conclusion of the meeting of the National Council on the Arts considering applications recommended by such committees. The summaries shall be consistent with the considerations that justified the closing of the meetings.
All other portions of the meetings of these advisory committees shall be open to the public unless the Chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts or a designee determines otherwise in accordance with section 10(d) of the Act.
The Panel Coordinator shall be responsible for publication in the Federal Register or, as appropriate, in local media, of a notice of all advisory committee meetings. Such notice shall Start Printed Page 11230be published in advance of the meetings and contain:
1. Name of the committee and its purposes;
2. Date and time of the meeting, and, if the meeting is open to the public, its location and agenda; and
3. A statement that the meeting is open to the public, or, if the meeting or any portion thereof is not to be open to the public, a statement to that effect.
The Panel Coordinator is designated as the person from whom lists of committee members may be obtained and from whom minutes of open meetings or open portions thereof may be requested.
Any interested person may attend meetings of advisory committees that are open to the public.
Members of the public attending a meeting will be permitted to participate in the committee's discussion at the discretion of the chairperson of the committee, if the chairperson is a full-time Federal employee; if the chairperson is not a full-time Federal employee then public participation will be permitted at the chairperson's discretion with the approval of the full-time Federal employee in attendance at the meeting in compliance with the order.Start Signature
Dated: February 28, 2006.
Committee Management Officer.
[FR Doc. E6-3105 Filed 3-3-06; 8:45 am]
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