The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has learned of the death of Tom Scharmen, one of the recipients of the 2019 William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award. He died on Dec. 1. Scharmen was the first-ever Dixon Award recipient in the health category. A virtual memorial is being planned for January 22, 2021.
In his nomination, Scharmen’s contributions to open government were described as … “not so much related directly to the law, but that he fully appreciates: (1) the fundamental role that data collected by government plays in public and private decision-making; (2) that the data should be easily available to all in its native file format; (3) that, depending on the topic or issue, government data lives in many agency silos. Trans-agency access to that data is fundamental to decision-making.”
Scharmen organized the NMCDC NMPHI Planning Advisory Group. This group of 20-plus individuals from an equal number of governmental agencies and citizen interest groups is meeting monthly with several objectives and projects. He was working on a project concerning eviction data at the time of his death.