I got a little excited when I checked the Attorney General's website and saw a new binding opinion - it's been 6 weeks since we have seen any action out of the PAC office, so I was looking forward to reading what new guidance the PAC is providing local governments. Unfortunately, there is nothing novel or new about the 3rd binding opinion of 2016. Once again, the PAC took the easy road and issued a binding opinion to find a public body in violation of FOIA for not responding to a FOIA request.
In PAC Op. 16-003, a requester filed a FOIA request with a school district asking for various emails and text messages of certain district employees, as well as employment interview records. The district responded that it would be extending the time frame for an additional 5 days. However, when the requester had not received the records 4 weeks later, she filed an appeal with the PAC. The PAC found the district in violation for (1) not extending the time period for response properly; (2) improperly calculating the time for response with the extension; and (3) not providing the documents to the requester.
So, the lesson from this PAC opinion? You have to respond to FOIA requests.
Nothing new here.
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf