Robert Fellner is a transparency researcher at NPRI and joined the Institute in December 2013.
Las Vegas Metro and Henderson police want more money, but they don’t want taxpayers to see where their current funds are going. In honor of Sunshine Week, NPRI's researcher gives readers an inside look on obtaining public information from some agencies.
From 1987 to 2012, state and local government spending on employees' health insurance premiums has rise an inflation-adjusted 444%. In 2012 local governments spent as much as $37,815 for a single employee's insurance plan.
Being both an environmentalist and an advocate for government transparency was doubly painful last week. It is quite common for public agencies to stall or attempt to deny public records requests, but some methods are just too bizarre to believe. Two separate California school districts – Duarte Unified School District and Hacienda La Puente Unified School District – decided that instead of providing the requested records in electronic format as requested, they would print out their entire payroll records and mail them, along with an invoice for the cost of production.
California’s Public Records Act makes perfectly clear in § 6253.9(a) that public records are to be provided in their original, electronic format when requested, and I stressed this in the records requests to the school districts. Yet, not only did both agencies feel comfortable defying this part of state law, they thought nothing of wasting the resources associated with mailing a massive print out without even pausing to confirm that I would pay the associated costs of production!