Friday, November 19, 2010

We have readers north of the border and a public information request done right.

It looks like our public information request story from last Friday caught the attention of Bob Norman from the Broward/Palm Beach edition of the New Times, from his article yesterday...
-- Have you ever tried to get public records from your government? Florida's Sunshine Law dictates that your wonderful and dedicated public servants should be reasonable and timely in supplying you the information. But that's not the way it works. The awful and terrible School Board, for instance, almost always tries to hit the public up with several hundred dollars in costs, especially stuff that people don't want to let out. It's just another sign of arrogance. But few compare to a recent case involving a Miami blog. The Straw Buyer requested from the Miami-Dade Police Department emails between a prosecutor and a detective in a well-publicized mortgage fraud case. Simple enough, it would seem, with one sender and one recipient. I could find that information on my email account in about 12 seconds.
Well, I'm not a governmental entity. After the jump, see how much the PD said it would cost to retrieve those emails.
Answer: $484,218.46.
That's right, nearly half a million dollars to find emails between one prosecutor and one detective involving one criminal case.
So how did they break that incredible cost down?
Using who knows what algorithm, Lt. Kathi Miller of the Economic Crimes Bureau determined that it would take 194 days to find the emails. The cost per day to "retrieve mailbox data": $2,495.97.
Multiply those two numbers and it comes to $484,218.46.
See, it all makes sense after all.
Brilliant, thanks for the mention Mr. Norman.

Now, we've mentioned Al Crespo of the Crespo-Gram report before, Mr. Crespo seems to  have a much better handle of the Florida Sunshine Law and public information requests than we do.  Recently Mr. Crespo submitted a public information request for emails from City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff's personal email accounts, at first he was turned down then today we're told that he just received 8,533 emails as a result of his public information request.  

What gives?  We ask for what can't be more than a dozen or so emails and are nailed with a nearly $500,000 bill and Mr. Crespo gets 8,533 emails at no cost?  Looks like we're not done with this public information request business and we'll certainly be taking up Mr. Crespo on his his offer on how to submit them and get results.

Till Monday folks, have a great weekend...

No comments:

Post a Comment