Requests made to Edgerton, Gardner and USD 231 for the compensation paid to top administrative staff were answered promptly by all three. Basic salary information was also quickly supplied by Johnson County Fire District #1.
The Kansas Open Records requests were answered within three days in a polite and professional manner.
In an effort to make fair comparisons, requests were all similar and asked for information such as: Most current salary (base and any applicable mileage, stipend etc.); Total compensation received in 2015, 2016 and 2017; Total compensation budgeted for 2018; Date of last evaluation and who does evaluation.
Every effort was made to compare apples to apples, and follow up e mails to clarify were sent in some instances.
Edgerton, Gardner and Johnson County Fire District #1 all responded to e-mail via e mail, and there was no charge.
USD 231 requires a specific handwritten form be submitted and approved. They were unable to provide information via e mail, instead requiring information be picked up at the board of education office. There was an $8 charge for making paper copies and staff time. Payment had to be made by paper check. Identification was also required, although everything in the KORA request was open public record, and the person picking up the information is well known to district personnel.
We’ve editorialized before about how archaic USD 231’s KORA policy is, we’ll say it again – there is no reason requests and payments (if required) can’t be handled electronically.
And the need for an archaic printed form and identification for routine requests is questionable and off-putting.
Under KSA 45-220, KORA requests can be required in writing, but no particular form is required.
KSA 45-220
b)A public agency may require a written request for inspection of public records but shall not otherwise require a request to be made in any particular form. Except as otherwise provided by subsection (c), a public agency shall not require that a request contain more information than the requester’s name and address and the information necessary to ascertain the records to which the requester desires access and the requester’s right of access to the records. A public agency may require proof of identity of any person requesting access to a public record. No request shall be returned, delayed or denied because of any technicality unless it is impossible to determine the records to which the requester desires access.
Altho identification is allowed by statute, it is an ill-advised use of agency discretion and appears to be an arbitrary roadblock.
That said, we want to emphasize the problem we have is with the outdated, time-wasting policy, not with the USD 231’s freedom of information officer.
Staff responding to the requests at each entity were professional and responsive.