Thursday, July 21, 2016

Small towns in Delaware rarely, if ever, receive Freedom of Information Act requests

Residents and journalists in some small towns rarely, if ever, take advantage of the Freedom of Information Act, Craig Anderson reports for Delaware State News. The Delaware Freedom of Information Act requires all Delaware municipal governments to provide requested information in a timely manner and at a fair cost. (Anderson photo: City of Dover administrative assistant Jody Stein reviews a FOIA request)

In Hartly, the state's smallest incorporated town with 74 residents, local officials searched back to the 1990s, but were unable to find any FOIA requests, Anderson writes. The town has a website link for FOIA matters, which Delaware Code requires, but it appears to have never been used. Suzanne Morris, town commissioner and clerk, told Anderson, "I can tell you that to the best of my knowledge Hartly has never received a FOIA request."

Little Creek, a town of 235, handled just one FOIA request since at least 1995, Anderson writes. Felton, a town of 1,362 residents, averages one request every couple years. Harrington, with 3,715 residents, gets about 10 per year, "typically coming from email or a form completed on the town website." Smyrna, which has 10,023 residents, sometimes gets four or five in one day, and other times goes a month without one. (Read more)

No comments: