Monday, January 26, 2015

RISD and Open Records Requests

The Dallas Morning News did a year-long study on how responsive local governments were to open records requests. Anecdotally, the RISD didn't come out looking too good:
When asked for a list of employee reimbursements in 2013, some agencies held that the information was only available in hard copy. The News’ most expensive estimate was a $4,050 fee from Richardson ISD for that information. The district maintained that data showing the amount of money paid to reimburse employees wasn’t available electronically.
Now, maybe there's nothing nefarious going on here. Maybe the cost estimate is accurate. But if this kind of external request costs $4,000 to meet, then the costs of internal requests are probably also prohibitive. So, if someone in the RISD with a need to know wants to examine employee reimbursement requests to look for abuse or even just for opportunities to reduce costs, it could be cost prohibitive. Wouldn't you think that would be reason enough to change procedures?

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

If I were king, I'd instruct staff to bend over backwards to meet open records requests. Further, I'd instruct staff to implement ways to reduce the cost of meeting open records requests. Still further, I'd instruct staff to put data subject to the open records act online in the first place, so citizens themselves can get at the data of interest. And then I'd abdicate. But I'm not king.