The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) Open Government Plan is a public roadmap
detailing current practices that incorporate the principles of the President's
January 21, 2009, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government into the
agency's core mission objectives, and the strategy to advance such practices in
the future. The Open Government Directive emphasizes the principles of
transparency, participation, and collaboration; together forming the cornerstone
of an open government.
- Transparency promotes accountability by providing the public with
information about what the Government is doing.
- Participation allows members of the public to contribute ideas and
expertise so that their government can make policies with the benefit of
information that is widely dispersed in society.
- Collaboration improves the effectiveness of Government by encouraging
partnerships and cooperation within the Federal Government, across levels of
government, and between the Government and private institutions.
The RRB participates in a wide-range of government-wide transparency
initiatives. During FY 2009, a series of documents outlining the RRB's
implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was
developed and published to the www.recovery.gov website. ARRA-related documents
as well as background on RRB benefit programs were published to the Catalog of
Federal Domestic Assistance www.cfda.gov website and to the RRB's website at
www.rrb.gov. Five data sets containing railroad employment data were published
to www.data.gov. The RRB also provides input to the General Services
Administration (GSA) through the Federal Procurement Data System www.FPDS.gov.
The Open Government Directive requires Federal agencies to take the following
steps toward the goal of creating a more open government:
- Publish Government Information Online
- Improve the Quality of Government Information
- Create and Institutionalize a Culture of Open Government
- Create an Enabling Policy Framework for Open Government
Publish Government Information Online
The RRB has a long history publishing substantial amounts of information on its
website (www.rrb.gov) for all interested parties.
Past practices provided such information in a Portable Document Format (PDF).
Consistent with the Open Government Directive, the RRB will continue to publish
such information with consideration to expanding access to information in open
The RRB will respect the presumption of openness by publishing information
online (in addition to any other planned or mandated publication methods) and by
preserving and maintaining electronic information, consistent with the Federal
Records Act and other applicable law and policy.
The RRB will continue to publicize underlying data in cases where the agency
provides public information maintained in electronic format. To the extent
practicable and subject to valid restrictions, the RRB will publish high-value
information online in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed,
and searched by commonly used web search applications that meet the needs of
railroad employees, railroad employers and the public in general.
To the extent practical and subject to valid restrictions, the RRB will continue
to use its website to disseminate useful information, rather than waiting for
specific requests under FOIA.
High-Value Data Sets
The RRB identified and published online in an open format five high-value data
sets and registered those data sets via Data.gov. Going forward, the RRB will
consider existing published data for conversion to open format for publication
High Value Information and Data Set Inventory
The RRB High-Value Information and Data Set Inventory details the underlying
data sets that are in an open format and accessible directly via Data.gov.
|High-Value Information and
Data Set Inventory
Active Employees and Railroad Retirement Act Beneficiaries by
A breakdown of Active Employees and Railroad Retirement Act
Beneficiaries by State
Longevity of Railroad Retirement Beneficiaries
Calculations of life expectancies of Railroad Retirement
Railroad Retirement Act Annuitants and Active Railroad Employees
by Congressional District
A breakdown of Railroad Retirement Act Annuitants and Active
Railroad Employees by Congressional District.
Total Number of Railroad Employees by State and Last Railroad
A breakdown of Railroad employees by State and Last Railroad
Total Railroad Employment by State and County, 2007
A breakdown of Railroad employees by State and County.
Open Government Webpage
The RRB's Open Government Webpage (www.rrb.gov/open) serves as the gateway for
agency activities related to the Open Government Directive. The site allows the
public to provide input about the agency's Open Government Plan, give feedback
regarding the quality of published information, and provide input about what
information should be prioritized for publication to RRB staff via E-mail.
Response to Public Input
The RRB will respond to public input received on its Open Government Webpage
within ten business days.
Freedom of Information Act Report Publishing
The RRB publishes its annual Freedom of Information Act Report in an open format
on its Open Government Webpage (www.rrb.gov/open). The
RRB does not have a backlog of requests to publish information in accordance
Open Government Initiative Guidance
The RRB will continue to observe guidance on implementing specific Presidential
open government initiatives, such as Data.gov, Recovery.gov, and USAspending.gov.
Improve the Quality of Government
To improve the quality of government information available to the public, the
RRB will ensure that the information conforms to OMB guidance on information
quality and that adequate systems and processes are in place within the RRB to
promote such conformity.
Designation of a Data Official
The RRB designated the Director of Administration to be accountable for the
quality and objectivity of, and internal controls over, the Federal spending
information publicly disseminated through such public venues as USAspending.gov
or other similar websites.
Initiate Plan for Quarterly Data Information Quality Improvement
The RRB awaits guidance on the longer-term comprehensive strategy of the Deputy
Director for Management at OMB for Federal spending transparency, including the
Federal Funding Accountability Transparency Act and the American Reinvestment
and Recovery Act. The RRB designates the Director of Administration to respond
to the OMB guidance for transparency in Federal spending.
Create and Institutionalize a Culture of Open Government
To create a sustained level of openness and accountability, the RRB will strive
to incorporate the values of transparency, participation, and collaboration into
the ongoing work of the agency.
Open Government Plan
The RRB's Open Government plan describes how the RRB embraces transparency and
integrates public participation and collaboration into its activities and can be
found at our Open Government Webpage (www.rrb.gov/open).
The plan will be updated every two years.
The RRB has designated the Director of Administration to review the findings of
the Deputy Director for Management at OMB about the use of challenges, prizes,
and other incentive-backed strategies to find innovative or cost-effective
solutions to improve open government.
Create an Enabling Policy Framework for Open
Emerging technologies open new forms of communication between a government and
the people. It is important that policies evolve to realize the potential of
technology for open government.
Clarifying Guidance and Proposed Revisions
The RRB will observe guidance applicable to small agencies, from the
Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), in
consultation with the Federal Chief Information Officer and the Federal Chief
Technology Officer, to promote greater openness in government.
The RRB's long history of transparency is evident by the extensive amount of
information frequently published on its website (www.rrb.gov). To uphold and
advance this strong commitment to transparency in the future, the RRB will
continue to publish information in support of its mission to administer
retirement/survivor and unemployment/sickness insurance benefit programs for
railway workers and their families under the Railroad Retirement Act and the
Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act.
Agency Plans, Management and Reports
The RRB Strategic Plan details the RRB's long and distinguished history of
excellent customer service and the continuation of that tradition by calling for
the attainment and maintenance of high levels of accuracy and timeliness in
paying retirement, survivor, unemployment and sickness insurance benefits. The
Agency Management and Reports webpage provides information on the RRB's
structure, responsibilities to the public, and communication methods. The RRB
Annual Report provides information on agency operations that are distributed to
officials of railway management and labor, members of Congress, officials of the
Federal Government, and requesting libraries
Agency Procedure Manuals
The Agency Procedure Manuals webpage is an index of the chapters in the various
manuals used by the RRB in the processing of claims under either the Railroad
Retirement or Railroad Unemployment Insurance Acts.
Board Coverage Decisions
Board Coverage Decisions are the determinations of the three-member Board as to
the status of various companies or persons with respect to coverage as employers
or employees under the Railroad Retirement and Railroad Unemployment Insurance
The Congressional Inquiry Section of the RRB's Office of Administration is
responsible for responding to all inquiries from congressional offices
concerning constituents, benefit claims or applications filed with the agency.
Questions about proposed railroad retirement legislation, the status of pending
legislation, or congressional schedules, hearings or committee jurisdiction
should be directed to the Office of Legislative Affairs
The Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed
rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive
orders and other presidential documents. Descriptions of agency organization,
procedures for the public to obtain information, statements of agency function,
rules of procedure, descriptions of agency forms, substantive rules of general
applicability and statements of general policy, and any changes in material
required to be published are available through the Office of the Federal
Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
Financial, Actuarial and Statistical Data
The RRB Financial, Actuarial and Statistical Data webpage consists of the
- Annual Railroad Retirement Act and Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act
- Budget and Financial Reports: Current and Projected
- Earnings Limits, Tax Rates and COLA's
- Monthly and Quarterly Railroad Retirement Act and Railroad Unemployment
Insurance Act Data
- Performance and Accountability Reports
Forms and Publications
The Railroad Retirement Handbook provides a comprehensive single source of
authoritative information on the development and character of the railroad
retirement and railroad unemployment insurance systems. The Benefit Forms and
Publications webpage provides information on Unemployment & Sickness Benefits,
Retirement & Survivor Benefits, Medicare, Income Tax, Protests and Appeals, and
Work/Earnings. The Employer Forms and Publications webpage provides content from
the Exhibits Section of the Labor Reporting, Employer Reporting and Sickness
Reporting Instructions, and publications in the format of Employer Exchange
Newsletters and Office of the Labor Member Questions and Answers.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
The RRB is required under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to disclose
records requested in writing by any person. However, we may withhold information
under certain exemptions and exclusions provided by the statute. In addition,
the Railroad Retirement Act, the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, and the
Privacy Act restrict disclosure of information about individuals.
In accordance with Section 3506(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act and Section
515 of Public Law 106-554 the RRB has developed a procedure to allow one to seek
and obtain correction of certain information RRB maintains and disseminates.
Procedures to seek correction of information under section 515 do not replace
other established procedures for challenges to disseminated information.
Challenges to information disseminated in the course of rulemaking should be
made through the channels established for that purpose.
IMPAC Credit Card Holders List
The RRB receives frequent requests under the Freedom of Information Act for a
list of the IMPAC credit card holders at the agency. In accord with section 4 of
the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (P.L. 104-231), the
RRB posts the list of credit card holders.
The RRB News webpage provides access to periodic news releases distributed to
editors of railway publications and major newspapers, officials of railway
management and labor, and requesting agencies and organizations in and outside
of the Federal Government.
Paperwork Reduction Act
The RRB is essentially compliant with the information dissemination requirements
of the PRA.
Privacy Act - Privacy Act Systems of Records
The RRB Privacy Act webpage provides information on one's right to records which
the RRB maintains about individuals, including individuals in the railroad
industry. The text of all of the RRB's Privacy Act Systems of Records, as
published in the Federal Register, are available for study.
The RRB records schedules are in transition. We will post updated RRB records
schedules to www.rrb.gov upon completion of all remaining NARA Bulletin
2006-02-related RRB/NARA appraisal work later in FY 2010.
The RRBVision service allows users to view video presentations with accompanying
training materials, such as PowerPoint presentations or online screens.
Presentations can be viewed in real time or saved for later viewing. These
presentations covered instructions in filing for sickness and unemployment
benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, filing for retirement
benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act, completing a variety of
compensation-reporting forms and navigating the Board's Web site.
The RRB encourages civic involvement and promotes opportunities for the public
to participate throughout the decision-making process of the agency's core
mission activities. The RRB advocates collaboration and will continue to develop
such practices to further cooperation with other Federal and non-Federal
governmental agencies, the public, and non-profit and private entities in
fulfilling the agency's core mission activities.
American Customer Satisfaction Index
The RRB participates in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey.
Produced through a partnership of the University of Michigan Business School,
the CFI Group, and the American Society for Quality, the ACSI regularly measures
national customer satisfaction with corporate and government goods and services.
Working with the Department of the Interior's National Business Center Federal
Consulting Group, government agencies participating in the survey use the ACSI
to gauge their level of service and benchmark their performance for comparison
with similar organizations in the private sector. The ACSI helps agencies focus
on those processes, based on customer feedback, which will have the biggest
impact on an agency's ability to deliver the highest quality products and
services. The RRB earned a score of 88 out of a possible 100 in a recent ACSI
survey. This is 19 points higher than the latest Federal government average of
69 and demonstrates a very high level of satisfaction with the services provided
by the RRB.
RRB Customer Assessment Survey
A Customer Assessment Survey Form is available in every RRB field office. After
visiting field offices, the RRB encourages the completion of this form to assist
us in gathering data on in-person service. Our goal is to provide our railroad
public with the efficient, friendly service it deserves.
RRB Strategic Plan
The RRB Strategic Plan reflects input and feedback from our stakeholders,
including customers in the railroad community, Congressional committees, the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other Federal agencies. We believe
this plan reflects an updated focus on our commitment to providing outstanding
customer service in the most effective, efficient ways possible.
RSS Feeds & Email Subscriptions
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a technology that allows organizations to
deliver content to a desktop computer or other Internet device. By subscribing
to RSS feeds, users can easily stay up-to-date with areas of the RRB's web site
that are of interest and provide resultant feedback. RRB feeds consist of
headline, brief summary, and a link that leads back to the agency's web site for
more information. RRS feeds and email subscriptions are available for content
such as Annual RRA & RUIA Data, Annual RRA & RUIA Data, Budget and Financial
Reports, Earnings Limits, Tax Rates & COLA's, Monthly & Quarterly RRA & RUIA
Data, Office of the Inspector General - Library, Open Government Initiative,
Railroad Job Vacancies Reported to the RRB, Recent Updates on the RRB Web Site,
and RRBVision Video Presentations.
American Customer Satisfaction Index
Starting in May 2010, working in collaboration with Foresee Results and the
Federal Consulting Group, the Railroad Retirement Board will be participating in
the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey of visitors to the agency's
website. The survey will specifically measure the visitors' perception of
'Online Transparency' among other things. Unlike previous ACSI surveys the
agency has conducted at a single point in time, this survey will be ongoing for
at least a year. Each month, the survey questions can be adjusted to obtain
customer feedback on potential enhancements thus providing a vehicle for
customer participation. Each quarter we will receive an analytical report which
will help us determine which website improvements will yield the greatest return
on satisfaction and on our investment. This approach will also allow us to
determine the importance of website elements to our customers "based on their
input" so we can make informed decisions about website improvements and other
online investments. The ability to adjust both the survey and the website along
the way provides an ongoing measure of improved transparency and effectiveness.
Depending on the level of public participation, funding availability, and the
RRB's ability to respond to the feedback, we will consider extending the survey
for another year or more, and/or obtaining additional analytical services to
further improve website performance and openness, and ultimately efficiency and
effectiveness of operations, as well as customer satisfaction.
Please send any comments, ideas or questions regarding the RRB Open Government
Michael P. Freeman
Director of Public Affairs
||U.S. Railroad Retirement Board
844 North Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611-2092