Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13, 2012 Comptroller Justin Wilson Proposes Waiving First $25 in Fees for Public Records Requests Submitted to His Office

State Comptroller Justin Wilson has proposed waiving the first $25 in fees for public records requests to his office. Wilson's proposal was unanimously recommended for adoption by the Joint Government Operations Committees last week.  Click here

Frank Gibson, former director of Tennessee Coalition on Open Government (TCOG), praised the decision. TCOG promotes transparency in government.
The move is apparently motivated by a desire to promote open government and concerns about efficiency. 
Wilson may choose to waive all fees on a case-by-case basis. "I'm absolutely in favor of open records, but I don't want it to be abused," Wilson said. "If there are excessive requests, you need to pay for it."
While the Public Records Act does not require local and state governments to charge citizens for  access to public records, many governmental entities have adopted rules on assessing fees for copies of documents. 
"The public feels like it is already paying to collect, store and provide records," Gibson said. "Fee waivers are a way to recognize that sentiment."
The proposed waiver is being adopted by and only applies to the Comptroller's Office. 

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