>>>> I am still unclear why tax dollars are spent to basically subsidize a private 
sector endeavor. <<<<<

I can only speak to Indiana public access laws.  If a record exists then a public agency in Indiana must produce the record with the exception of any redactions required by state or federal law.  It doesn't matter who the requestor is, public or private.  

>>>>  For example if I wanted to know what percentage of graduates of the 
Unviersity of Minnesota have a surname that ends in a vowel for the time 
period 1910-2010 could I expect that someone would compile this information 
for me. <<<<

We would not compile a report to respond to a request unless it was easier than producing copies of the actual records.  An example is expenditures.  Often times it is easier and more cost effective for the public agency to produce a report from the accounting system of all expenditures rather than make copies of all the accounts payable invoices.  Even though the agency may not need such a report for daily operations.  In Indiana, we don't have to "create" a record to meet the requirements of the request. We only provide records that we already use in our daily operations.  

You would be shocked, or maybe not, of the people who use the sunshine laws for their own personal gain, to snoop on their spouses or neighbors or to harass a public agency.  The media is easy to work with, it is the rest of the public, including big corporations, that make the public agency's job difficult.

David, aren't you glad you work for a private institution?  :^)

The comments above are my own, and not those of any prior, current or future employer.

Cheryl Westlund, CRM
"Recovering Public Records Administrator" now back in the private sector (Yipee!)


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