Friday, April 6, 2012

Other counties don’t require legislators to fill out FOILs

Oswego County legislators are required to make a written request for the documents that they are the legal custodians of — and it has sparked a debate as to whether they should be exempt from having to follow the same procedure as the public in acquiring records.

In other counties around the state, legislators have access to records without written requests or wait.

The requests, known more commonly as a FOIL request, the acronym for Freedom of Information Law, are required to obtain public documents from government agencies. Requests can be made in writing by e-mail, hard copy or by using a form provided by the agency.

Oswego County legislators must make the requests in writing, under FOIL, and sometimes have to wait to receive the records.

During Monday’s meeting of the legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee, a lengthy discussion about how to handle legislator requests ensued that resulted in no conclusion as to how to proceed. The issue will be addressed again next month.

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