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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, February 10

Information Racing

On Monday & Tuesday, I made two Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) for the latest contracts, memorandums of understanding, and negotiation minutes between the city of Saratoga Springs and four unions: CSEA locals 846 in the Department of Public Works & City Hall, IAFF local 343 firefighters union, and the Saratoga Springs Police PBA.

FOIL specifies that agencies acknowledge requests within five days of receipt. PERB responded with digital copies of the two records within a day of receipt.

Tuesday, they responded to my second request with available records in less than an hour.

Yesterday I made my first FOIL request to the city requesting the same documents, seeing as PERB did not have many on file. The city has yet to acknowledge my request.

I couldn't find instructions on the Saratoga Springs website on how to make a FOIL request nor whom to direct it to. In my experience, most state agencies and municipalities provide detailed instructions on where to direct requests. PERB has an online form sent directly to their information officer.

I also noticed that the city website doesn't list officials email addresses.

Does anyone else find this peculiar?

In case you may not know, most city email addresses are:
firstname.lastname@saratoga-springs.org

From now on, whenever I FOIL the city, I will make a point to also FOIL another agency that may have the records on file, and to the races we shall go!

So far the score is HOME 0, AWAY 1.

Answers to questions about FOIL and other government disclosure laws can be found at the New York State Committee on Open Government.







2 Comments:

Blogger Ben lives on said...

Good work!!

February 10, 2010 at 4:07 PM 
Blogger demroc said...

joe scala is the foil officer in city hall. he works for the mayor. more open government from his office?

February 11, 2010 at 7:54 AM 

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