Brooks Fuller, director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition and Sunshine Center and instructor of journalism, offers his perspective about a town charging a fee of $70,000 to a local newspaper to fulfill a public records request.
A recent article about a battle between a local newspaper and local government officials features insights from Brooks Fuller, director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition and Sunshine Center and instructor of journalism.
Fuller was quoted in an article by Wake Forest, North Carolina, newspaper The Wake Weekly. The article, which was also published by The Wilson Times, details the newspaper's attempts to obtain public emails from the Town of Youngsville, North Carolina, regarding the town's retired former police chief and a fired former police department administrator.
Youngsville officials estimate the newspaper would have to pay more than $70,000 before the town could comply with The Wake Weekly's public records request. Fuller called the fee "astronomical and unreasonable."
“I think that a court or a judge who’s confronted with this kind of request would balk at the notion that a request asking for a merely two months of emails between a couple of recipients or communicants … would exceed a teacher’s salary in North Carolina,” Fuller said.
As director of the NCOGC, Fuller is responsible for organizing the state's annual Sunshine Day, advising and informing citizens about open government issues, and producing workshops and educational opportunities across the state.
Read the entire Wake Weekly article, including more insight from Fuller, here.