If you receive our weekly updates, you have heard about the transparency case on Block Island. If you haven’t heard, first thing to do is sign up on our mailing list (on the OSPRI home page), but here is the Cliff Notes version.
A resident of Block Island and asked for a copy of the legal bills for the town council. He was denied. He went to a meeting and informed them that OSPRI posts much more than legal bills, they post the entire checkbook, so why can’t he get the legal bills.
Dodge pointed out that all the information McGarry did not want the town to access is considered public record. And audience member Bill McCombe noted that the Ocean State Policy Research Institute posts the entire check register for the school online, because it is public record. The site also includes payroll information with names and salaries and information about contracts and the budget.
The AG weighed in and the bills were produced. The local paper wanted to know if there were legal costs associated with producing a copy of those bills.
“The bill also includes a $963 charge for legal work relating to providing copies of the legal bills McCombe requested.The bill also includes a $963 charge for legal work relating to providing copies of the legal bills McCombe requested.”
Perhaps they should bump up that budget line item if they are going to use a lawyer every time someone asks for public information.