Sunday, March 14, 2010

Florida journalists examine public access to open records - Mixed reviews in record requests

"Government agencies in most Northeast Florida counties passed their Sunshine Sunday test, promptly handing over public records. But some simple requests were met with confusion — and suspicion.

All five of the local agencies audited by The Times-Union last week provided public records within a day of the request and charged a modest fee or nothing at all, satisfying Florida’s open records law.

A Times-Union reporter made the records requests using her name but did not identify herself as a journalist in order to more accurately gauge how the agencies work with the public.

At two agencies, the reporter was quizzed about who she was and what she was looking for — questions that experts say are inappropriate and potentially intimidating.

Another agency responded quickly to a request, but a review of the records found them to be incomplete.

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Location Oakland, Ca - Private Investigator