A requester in Maryland asked for a list of county employees with their salaries in an electronic format. Pretty simple. But the county responded saying it would charge $40 per hour for 52 hours of programming, or $2,000 (first two hours are free). That’s crazy! When this was posted on the FOI-listserv today many people offered suggestions for the reporter, including:
- Write a story about why it takes so long for the agency to copy basic data.
- Look at the FOI requests submitted to the agency (or a FOI log) for the past few years to see if someone else has asked for the same thing. The county might have given out the same information for free previously.
- File a request for a breakdown of the specific calculations and documentations for that 52-hour estimate. If they actually had anything calculated it is likely unreasonable and inflated.