FOIA Requests continue to usurp a large amount of time and town resources. It’s not just the clerk’s office. The number, type, and scope of FOIA requests being received are taking a toll on staff in the various departments. Town employees, which already have daily workloads, are having to drop what they are doing to attend to marginally frivolous inquiries into topics such as, you guessed it, zoning, and clamming operations.
Here is a rundown as of August 30:
-Researched the Northampton County real estate tax records for a FOIA request received on August 11, 2021. This could have been a very large FOIA request, but no properties in Cape Charles were found to match the requester’s criteria. The response letter was sent to the requestor on August 26, 202.
-A FOIA request was received on August 26, 2021, regarding short-term rental communications. Due to the volume of information requested, an extension letter was sent along with a request for payment per Code of Virginia § 2.2-3704.H
The deposit payment was received on August 30th. The scope of the FOIA was also increased and the affected staff members were notified.
-A FOIA request was received regarding communications on zoning changes, clamming operations, or other business operations. The request was forwarded to the affected parties. Due to the scope of the request, an extension letter was sent.
Town Clerk Libby Hume also attended virtual FOIA training sessions on Criminal and Other Law Enforcement Records, Access to Public Records, and Access to Public Meetings, and covered some changes that took effect July 1, 2021, as well as providing a refresher and best practices for FOIA in general. The training was provided by Alan Gernhardt of the FOIA Council.