Sunshine Week: FOIL an exercise in ‘trust but verify’

As anyone who has ever tried to maintain a household budget knows, little differences in savings or cost can add up over time.  That’s one reason we chose to focus on a minuscule part of school district budgets in the project we selected to kick off this year’s Sunshine Week. The money school boards spend…


Requesting public records from NYC’s education department? Be prepared to wait 103 days

The education department is among the least responsive agencies in New York City when it comes to public records requests.

Worse than the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Administration for Children’s Services — and far worse than the NYPD. That’s according to an analysis of a year’s worth of open records requests initially gathered by the Village Voice and subsequently provided to Chalkbeat.


Rochester, NY: City looks to ease access to public records

Getting access to a city of Rochester police report, property record or purchasing data is now a matter of point and click, thanks to a new online process that Mayor Lovely Warren announced Thursday.

An estimated 3,850 open records or Freedom of Information Law requests will come into the city this fiscal year — that's at least one for every hour of business, of every working day. Much of that is pushed through via email messages, file folders and marker pens.


Vetoing FOIL bills, NY Gov. Cuomo points finger at legislature, issues executive order

In response to the conviction of former New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on multiple federal corruption charges, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared on Friday that the state legislature "must stop standing in the way of needed reforms." 

Only a few hours later he vetoed two bills designed to speed and reform Freedom of Information Law response and require the state to pay court costs incurred by FOIL users whose requests a judge finds have been improperly denied.


NYC Mayor’s open government record would get a ‘D’ under his own grading system

It's a tale of two de Blasios.

As public advocate, Bill de Blasio criticized city agencies for failing to answer Freedom of Information Law requests from media organizations and the public in a timely manner.

But of the 741 FOIL requests Mayor Bill de Blasio's office received since the start of his term through Oct. 27, 38 percent were delayed for 60 days or more. Continue…