IC 5-14-3-9(a): Denial of disclosure

by Staff on January 13, 2008 · 34 comments

in Local

During the recent campaigns, we were promised an “open government”.

Indiana Code 5-14-3-9, section (a) states:

“A denial of disclosure by a public agency occurs when the person making the request is physically present in the office of the agency, makes the request by telephone, or requests enhanced access to a document and:

  1. the person designated by the public agency as being responsible for public records release decisions refuses to permit inspection and copying of a public record when a request has been made; or
  2. twenty-four (24) hours elapse after any employee of the public agency refuses to permit inspection and copying of a public record when a request has been made;

whichever occurs first.”

Tuesday afternoon, I contacted the office of the Indiana Public Access Counselor with regards to an inquiry I was about to make. The woman I spoke with indicated to me that the information I wanted was, indeed, “public record”.

Shortly before 1pm, I called to request the information from the Mayor, who I was told was “gone to lunch”. I called right back and left him a voice mail telling him what I wanted. An hour later, I called back and left a message (with his “secretary”) for him indicating what I wanted. At 4:30pm, I was in his office and hand delivered a written request for documents considered “public record”. I have, in effect, been denied access to those documents.

I am willing to “sit on” and not disclose the information I want for a reasonable period of time (I understand *why* they don’t want to disclose the information as of yet, but that does not actually allow them to do so), but if I do not receive it by 8am tomorrow morning, my complaint will be filed and I will be asking for an advisory opinion from the PAC. I’ll be unavailable until 7am tomorrow morning, but those of you involved know both what I want and how to get in touch with me (e-mail or text message works for me).

Since I have been denied access to these public records, I “may file an action in the circuit or superior court of the county in which the denial occurred to compel the public agency to permit the person to inspect and copy the public record.”

If I file a formal complaint tomorrow morning, I’ll post a copy here — and provide more details — so that you all know what I’m talking about.

We’ll see if “open government” is a claim the new administration is going to stick to, or if it was just a lie.

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