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October 22, 2008

"Public records should be public"

But they're often not. Or they're prohibitively expensive, as CommonWealth magazine contributor Colman Herman explains in the Boston Globe today:

The Public Records Law encourages officials to waive fees for fulfilling document requests. Some did in response to my requests, but most didn't. The Massachusetts Port Authority, for example, initially tried to charge $1,641 for 300 pages of executive director Thomas Kinton's appointment calendar, including $141 an hour for Kinton himself to spend 4.5 hours reviewing redactions made by his lawyer. Massport later reduced its charge after I challenged the initial price.

The Globe column is a good primer on the topic. A more comprehensive look is in the current issue of CommonWealth.

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