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Augusta, GA Violates Open Records Act

Last week, Watchdog Wire reported on Augusta, GA’s seizure of private property to build a pond.

In the course of our investigation, Augusta’s law department violated provisions of Georgia’s Open Records Act.

As a result of our open records request, the city’s law department sent us 108 pages of documents at a cost of $126.80.

In a letter signed by city attorney Wayne Brown, the city claimed it could not provide an estimate for the cost.

“Due to the nature of this request, the direct administrative cost for compiling this information cannot be estimated at this time,” the letter read.

After receiving the invoice for $126.80, Mr. Brown was asked to provide a breakdown of the administrative costs, which he sent late last week. The updated letter shows some interesting numbers for how much city employees are paid. One person fulfilling the request makes over $50 an hour:

Admin Cost Breakdown

However, according to Stefan Ritter, the state’s Senior Assistant Attorney General, charging more than $25.00 for a request without an estimate violates the law.

I contacted him via email to get clarification of the law (click for larger version):

Email with Stefan

 

Watchdog Wire emailed Wayne Brown about this, but we have yet to hear back.

Josh Kaib

Josh Kaib is the Assistant Editor of Watchdog Wire. Twitter: @joshkaib

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Categories: Courts & Law, Government Transparency, News
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