VERGENNES — At least three residents who have made Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information — including emails, texts and other communications among Vergennes city officials related to the July 16 city council meeting after which Mayor Jeff Fritz and three councilors resigned — have not been happy with the response from City Manager Daniel Hofman.
Hofman, however, insists he is following the law while providing materials and charging for his time in doing so.
At the heart of the disagreement lie a statute that does allow municipalities to charge hourly fees for providing...
The start of the new year provides an opportunity to reflect and set out our intentions for the months ahead. This year, I am asking all legislators to join me in committing to protect and expand access for Vermonters who are seeking access to public records.
The bottom line is: open government is good government.
Vermonters shouldn’t have to pay for access to inspect public records their government creates in the course of agency business. Navigating who to ask, and how to request public records is enough of a hurdle for most Vermonters. They shouldn’t also be charged an arm and a leg to...
VERMONT — Gov. Phil Scott issued a directive to state agency heads Wednesday, Nov, 13, allowing members of the public to use personal devices to replicate government records during inspection at no charge.
The governor had previously issued the same advice informally. On Nov. 13, his secretary of administration, Susanne Young, sent out a formal memo explaining the directive.
Young said the Vermont Supreme Court’s Sept. 13 decision in Reed Doyle v. City of Burlington Police Department gave the administration no choice but to mandate that state agencies allow photographs during the records...
Vermonters shouldn’t have to pay for access to their government’s public records. Government transparency is far too important to be revoked by government agencies when they feel inconvenienced.
Generous access to public records is rooted in the Vermont Constitution, and comes from Vermont statutes:
“It is the policy of this subchapter to provide for free and open examination of records consistent with Chapter I, Article 6 of the Vermont Constitution. Officers of government are trustees and servants of the people and it is in the public interest to enable any person to review and criticize...