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Norwalk makes it easy to request records under FOIA

By Nancy Guenther Chapman

NORWALK, Conn. – It’s never been easier to annoy Norwalk city officials.

If you’ve pondered requesting information from the city of Norwalk but didn’t know where to start, take heart: there is now a Freedom of Information Act request form on the city’s website.

Under FOI guidelines, the city has four days to respond, according to sunshinereview.org. Responding does not mean delivering the materials requested, Deputy Corporation Counsel Jeffry Spahr said. Rather, the city must acknowledge receipt of the request. Delivering the materials must be done in a “reasonable” manner, Spahr said.

The city is not required to conduct research, compile data or create documents in response to a request for records. You therefore must take care to specify what existing records you are looking for – do not treat FOIA as a fishing expedition. That would require city employees to spend an unreasonable amount of time complying with the request.

Certain records may be subject to exemptions or privileges as provided by the FOI Act. There are fees/charges associated with the copying of records: 50 cents a page for copies is the general rule.

If you’re looking for federal or state records, you might start with an online letter generator.

FOIA was first enacted in 1975, according to the state of Connecticut. It was based on the Right to Know Act of 1957.

Comments

One response to “Norwalk makes it easy to request records under FOIA”

  1. Diane C2

    Nancy, thanks for posting this! Though the online form itself is simplistic, it serves the purpose. For more on the CT Freedom of Information Act, your readers can visit the CT Freedom of Information Commission page at http://www.ct.gov/foi

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