Battle Creek meeting Michigan FOIA demands


Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act gives citizens access to most government records, not just police reports but also contracts, payroll records, traffic studies. …
The Battle Creek Clerk’s Office handles dozens of public records requests every week — and took in more than 2,200 in 2012. The vast majority were for information from the police department and were turned around in a matter of days, according to a log of FOIA requests kept by the Clerk’s Office and released to the Enquirer — after a FOIA request.
Michigan law gives governments five business days to respond to a written request for records. If a request can’t be completed in that time, a 10-day extension is allowed. The law sets no penalty for when a deadline is missed.
An Enquirer analysis of more than 2,000 FOIA requests completed at City Hall last year showed the average time for a completion or denial was less than 4.5 days. Extensions were needed 125 times, and five requests took more than 20 days to complete. Most of the longer completion times were lengthened because the city asked for a deposit on the processing fee before staff would complete the request.