Kudos to the cities of Edgerton and Gardner for the professional and citizen-oriented manner in which they respond to Kansas Open Records Act requests.
Most recently The Gardner News requested e-mails from Edgerton regarding a proposed Zimmer Company industrial development. The request encompassed e-mails dating back several months.
The request was promptly and professionally answered, with an acknowledgement that our request was rather broad and reasonable costs might be incurred. That’s legal and honest. We don’t want to unduly burden any staff, but we do believe in transparency, and government entities are custodians of – not owners of – public records.
The purpose of the request was to determine if the developer was leveraging Gardner and Edgerton against one another. We wouldn’t blame developers if they did, but anytime a business is seeking lower taxes, help with fees and infrastructure, or wanting to stress our streets with heavy trucks, we believe our elected officials need to be informed – as do taxpayers.
After all, it’s our money, not Monopoly money, and residents are still struggling after a down economy.
So we were pleased when Edgerton responded with e-mails dating back 12 months, redacted in some spots as we expected, but neatly organized in a folder. The stack is several inches high.
It’s good to see public entities that are well-organized, courteous and responsive.
What surprised us was there was no charge. That speaks to the efficiency of Edgerton’s data storage, as well as their interest in community relations.
It’s also appropriate they do not destroy e-mail after 24 hours as does USD 231, or charge exorbitant fees, but instead apparently have a cost-efficient method of retrieving documents upon request.
Our thanks to the Edgerton and Gardner staffs.