A Sunshine Week Grabbag of Goodies…

In Webster, New York, the Penfield Post did a nifty county audit:

More than 1,500 Freedom of Information requests were filed with town and village clerks in a dozen Monroe County towns in 2010.

Requests ranged from only 10 in East Rochester, to 550 in Greece, and together they tell a tale of what residents, businesses and law firms are want to know about local municipalities.

Sunshine Week, a national celebration of open government and freedom of information, runs from March 13 to 19. To take a look at open government access and involvement locally, Messenger Post reporters tested access to local FOIL records. Each town and village received requests for access to a log or file of the FOIL requests from the year.

Five of the local government municipalities kept a log, and the remaining towns and villages invited reporters to go through the files, looking for who is requesting what in each area. E-mails, memos, calendar items, police reports, building permits, meeting agendas and minutes, among other items were included.

— Five Gannett newspapers joined forces to conduct a local audit of school districts through the region:

Reporters filed Freedom of Information requests asking for two years’ worth of records about legal settlements, as well as reports sent to other agencies, such as the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services. Reporters also asked for records for the current school year about medications or treatments administered to students on a group or individual basis.



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