Legislators finally have a FOIL policy

by Carol Thompson

Following months of discussion, the Oswego County Legislature has a Freedom of Information Law request policy that everyone can agree with.

The legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee approved the policy at the Aug. 27 meeting.

At issue was complaints of inconsistencies with FOIL requests and whether lawmakers should have to submit written requests for records needed to perform their job duties.

Some legislators said they had to submit a written request and wait for records; others said they went directly to a department head.

The new policy states that requests filed by legislators for information related to their legislative duties and dealing with issues before any of the committees or the legislature will not be considered requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Any request exceeding $5 will need to be paid for by the legislator. Waivers can be requested in writing to the legislature chairman or the jurisdictional committee.

Records for personal or political use will be treated as a FOIL request and subject to the same rule and regulations as public requests.

The legislature clerk will make the determination as to the purpose of the request and in the event of a dispute, the legislature chairman will make the determination.

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