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FOIA Requestors' Names Publicized

This is interesting: The City of Springfield now posts online the names of everyone who requests a public document, along with what they requested. Here's the story in the State-Journal Register, which includes the link to the Web site. What does everyone think about this???

www.sj-r.com/local/x1377000941/City-creates-FOIA-Web-site

Jim.Gee's picture

A very interesting development. While the idea that this could have a chilling effect, as mentioned in the article, is worthy of discussion, sunshine is sunshine.

If this is indeed an honest attempt by the city to prove its compliance with FOIA and increase transparency in its operations, than Springfield should be applauded for this. Just glancing over the list show a broad spectrum of requests from a variety of different interests, ranging from private citizens to news operations to the Federal Trade Commission.

I wonder if all requests for police reports have been handled through FOIA, or if this is a change since the reforms went into effect in January? There seem to be a lot of police report requests since Jan. 1. Has there been an increase in requests, or is this just a change in reporting method by the city?

The answer could be important if/when the Municipal League pressures lawmakers to roll back reform on the grounds that it is too expensive to cope with a sudden surge in requests.

-- Gee

Rick.Koshko's picture

There are some things somewhat similar to this.

- Some board secretaries are sticklers about making sure everyone at a public meeting signs in.
- If you vote in a primary, there's a public record of which party's ballot you took.
- People who donate to candidates show up on public lists of contributors.

These all have to do with one's attempt to get something out of government. Those give a person vague information though. Putting FOI requests out for public consumption gives specific information. If anyone objects to this, I could see a whole new industry growing up around it. There could be hired third parties making FOI requests for people who'd rather remain anonymous.

Rick Koshko
WCMY News Director

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