Email Records Proving Challenging For Va. FOIA Officers | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Email Records Proving Challenging For Va. FOIA Officers

Play associated audio

State employee e-mails are subject to Freedom of Information requests made by the public under Virginia’s open-government laws. The law also allows the costs of providing records to be passed along to the requester. But the e-mails have become so voluminous and cluttered that the costs to retrieve them have skyrocketed.

The problem came to light when requests were made recently for some Department of Environmental Quality e-mails. Virginia's Information Technology Agency stores but does not organize agency documents, according to FOIA Council Director Maria Everett.

The agency ultimately provided those emails later than the deadline required by law -- and at a cost of $34,000.

"With some work with the agency, it got down to $8,000," says Everett. "But my opinion at the time was $8,000 is a whole lot better than $34,000, but if you think you're passing that on to the requester, I think you've got another think coming."

Everett said the root cause has been organizational. "We're not organizing email," she says. "Somehow the skill sets we had in the paper world have not transferred over to the electronic world."

VITA has since advised agencies about electronic filing, but Everett said it's still a problem.

NPR

Culinary Siblings Give Pasta A Healthy Makeover

In a low-carb world, pasta has issues. But it's poised for a comeback, say Joseph Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, who talk with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about their cookbook, Healthy Pasta.
NPR

Culinary Siblings Give Pasta A Healthy Makeover

In a low-carb world, pasta has issues. But it's poised for a comeback, say Joseph Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, who talk with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about their cookbook, Healthy Pasta.
NPR

The Cat-And-Mouse Game Of The Great Clinton Chase, Iowa Edition

Hillary Clinton's campaign went to great lengths to keep her events in Iowa this week intimate. That's easier said than done when the candidate is one of the world's most famous politicians.
NPR

What Does It Take To Feel Secure?

Computer security expert Bruce Schneier says there's a big difference between feeling secure and being secure. He explains why we worry about unlikely dangers while ignoring more probable risks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.