Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, VLCIA, Open Records Request, Bobbi Anne Hancock asked Allan Ricketts why a bunch of agendas and minutes should cost $125.09? She received back this itemized invoice:
Apparently the lowest paid VLCIA employee who can convert documents to PDF is paid $24.23 an hour. According to Georgia Code 50-18-71:
(d) In addition, a reasonable charge may be collected for search, retrieval, and other direct administrative costs for complying with a request under this Code section. The hourly charge shall not exceed the salary of the lowest paid full-time employee who, in the discretion of the custodian of the records, has the necessary skill and training to perform the request; provided, however, that no charge shall be made for the first quarter hour.Or maybe they didn’t know where their minutes were and had to search for them.
Let’s look at 50-18-71.2:
Any agency receiving a request for public records shall be required to notify the party making the request of the estimated cost of the copying, search, retrieval, and other administrative fees authorized by Code Section 50-18-71 as a condition of compliance with the provisions of this article prior to fulfilling the request as a condition for assessment of any fee; provided, however, that no new fees other than those directly attributable to providing access shall be assessed where records are made available by electronic means.Is converting to PDF directly attributable to providing access?
And then there’s this:
(e) An agency shall utilize the most economical means available for providing copies of public records.Um, wouldn’t that be email? Or why didn’t they just convert all the agendas and minutes and stick them up on their website so anybody else who wanted to see them could?
Maybe that’s too hard for an organization that took six weeks to put its own videos of its own “Forum” up on its website. The “Forum” with a panel of nothing but paid “experts” on which the Industrial Authority spent more than $17,000.