Miami Dade County Community Forum

Monday, May 25, 2009

How to Do a Public Records Request

Frank Rollason, former Assistant Manager of the City of Miami, wrote a good primer on public records requests in a letter to the Watchdog Report. We thought it might interest our readers and help them to know what they are entitled to get:

The law is the law and the kookiest individual is just as entitled to the same information and just as quickly as the Herald, New Times, or the Watchdog Report.  The request does not need to be ‘fair’ – it just needs to be requested.  The requestor does not need to identify him/herself or why the information is requested.  The request does not need to be in writing as is often demanded by the requestee and, most important, one does not have to pay one cent to review the record (if readily available – there may be a reasonable charge for research, if necessary) in person to include viewing on a computer screen. Only, and if only, one wants a printed copy can the government charge for the information.  I have often wondered if one viewed the information on a computer why could not that same screen be sent via e-mail to the requestor at no charge since the charges per page are based upon reasonable printing costs to begin with. 

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousMay 25, 2009

    They try to get you by saying it will take a secretary 20 hours to compile the information (emails of a certain commissioner or phone logs). They charge you 3 or 4 hundred dollars.