As illustration of your point I recall one particular FOI Demand Action which I believe went all the way in the administrative process and, because it was so broad, burdened a lot of employees to search carefully in order to comply with a demand to basically produce ‘any & all communication to, from or among [Name, X, Y & Z], including emails, notes, blogs, etc. for X Months’ – and compliance demands production of every scrap, so imagine each employees tedious and time-consuming efforts on just the email ‘trees’ alone – Employees who had to stop working at their actual job and labor on this matter, all paid for on the Taxpayer’s dime.
As far as I could tell, the only purported purpose of the FOI Demand was the implementation of Meeting Agendas that would be comprehensive, transparent and allow no unfair surprises. Seems Fair; the FOI Demand did not, nor did it seem suited to achieve that end.
I don’t know if the parties ever just sat down and talked; I don’t believe that direct request regarding Agenda changes was ever made; nor did I ever hear of ANY kind of offer of informal meeting; nor of any compromise; or Alternative Dispute Resolution; or efforts to narrow matters to keep costs down and ensure that the FOI Demand language limited itself to truly germane material. There was an atmosphere of a stubborn stand-off on both sides, but only one side initiated the matter and seemed to a lot of us to have had a stern and stubborn lesson to teach (at our expense). Read the rest of this entry »