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

Best Seat In The House Of Worship: The Temple Hollywood Built

Built in the late 1920s by movie moguls, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple is a Los Angeles landmark — and also a statement the LA Jewish community made to itself, and to the city.
NPR

Red Robin's 'Monster' Burger Wins Xtreme Eating Awards

The Center for Science in the Public Interest says, at more than 3,500 calories, it's the "single unhealthiest" meal among 200 chain restaurants.
NPR

In Kansas City, Obama Brushes Off House GOP's Lawsuit Against Him

Congress leaves some significant business unfinished as it goes on break. But the talk of Washington and beyond is Wednesday's vote by House republicans to authorize a lawsuit against President Obama.
NPR

Can Pinterest Compete With Google's Search?

Pinterest has created a database of things that matter to humans. And with a programming team that's largely been hired away from Google, the company has begun offering what it calls "guided search."

Leave a Comment

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