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

Barbershop: UofL Basketball Ban, Football Concussions And The NFL Women's Summit

ESPN contributor Kevin Blackistone, Bloomberg View's Kavitha Davidson and The Washington Post's Wesley Lowery talk about the UofL basketball team, public opinion of the NFL, and women in sports.
NPR

After Introducing Changes, Keurig Sales Continue To Fall

Despite America's high coffee consumption, Keurig reported disappointing sales this week. Even during its popular holiday selling period, the numbers haven't perked up in recent years.
NPR

With A Little Help From Larry David, Bernie Sanders Does SNL

Bernie Sanders impersonator Larry David hosted the episode with a cameo from the senator himself. Sanders slipped in a main campaign message, while David jabbed at the candidate's cantankerous side.
NPR

How Limited Internet Access Can Subtract From Kids' Education

Smartphones are often credited with helping bridge the "digital divide" between people who do and don't have Internet access at home. But is mobile Internet enough for a family with a kid in school?

Leave a Comment

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