FOIA for Village Council documents

November 14, 2017

Under MI Freedom of Information Act (Public Act No. 442 of 1976 as amended)

We hereby submit this 6 month subscription request for the following documents. 

(refer to:  https://www.mikameyers.com/news/article/foia-update-the-question-returns-by-what-date-must-a-foia-request-be-fulfilled )

  • To be received via electronic mail. 
  • In advance of all Village Council, Planning, Two Lakes Sewer Authority meetings.
  • a) Agendas
  • b) Draft Minutes within 8 business days ( as per OMA)
  • c) Approved Minutes within 5 business days of approval (as per OMA)
  • d) All finance documents referenced in those Minutes
  • e) All spreadsheets referenced in the Minutes when the FY Operating Budget has been amended
  • f) All Special or Public Meeting Notices in no less than the notice required by law.

Said documents are required to be produced for all Village Meetings and therefore do not meet the additional labor charge time period.

To attach said documents to an email has been timed at 90 seconds.

We look forward to the Village’s compliance with their stated intent of open and transparent government. Perhaps a simpler solution would be a link to where a full meeting packet may be located on the Village web site?

Bear Lake News Media Service.

November 14, 2017:

I have reviewed the FOIA from the Bear Lake News.  With the exception noted below, all of the requested public records must be provided in electronic format and in advance of all Village Council and village planning commission meetings.

    Regarding the requested financial records, account numbers from the village bank statements must be redacted.  The legal authority to redact the account numbers is MCL 15.243(1)(d), since those account numbers are protected under MCL 488.12.

    Concerning the request for public records from the Two Lakes Sewer Authority, that Authority is a separate public body, distinct from the village.  Therefore, any FOIA request for information from the Authority must be submitted directly to the Authority.

    Concerning FOIA fees, if the time needed to compile and/or scan the requested documents in electronic format, as requested, exceeds 15 minutes, then appropriate FOIA fees should be assessed.  If the time needed to compile and/or scan the requested documents takes less than 15 minutes, then no FOIA fees should be assessed.


Good morning Mr. Graham,

thank you for your prompt response.

As we know the requested documents are ‘saved as’ a .doc or .xls in advance of all Council Meetings, the time necessary to email as attachments is minimal.

We have noted in prior communications that our service is used by individuals who rely on assistive screen reading devices which is why we request documents in a Section 508 compatible format or as plain text readable.

Our reason for including the Two Lakes Sewer Authority is that the Village, and Village Trustee (and TLSA Board member) Greg McPherson is the Two Lakes Board Secretary and responsible for the Minutes. At the October Village Council Meeting, the Draft Village Minutes reflect a directive that each unit of government should post the relevant reporting documents and notices as the Authority itself has no physical location either bricks and mortar or on the web. Onekama Township has only been designated the fiscal agent.

Therefore we ask that the request for all Two Lakes Sewer Authority documents be reinstated as they are required to also be published by the Village of Bear Lake.

Appreciatively,

Bear Lake News Editor.

Response:

Under the FOIA the Authority is a separate public body, distinct from the Village.  To the extent that the Village is posting Authority information on the Village website, the Village is acting as an agent of the Authority.  In addition, the individuals you noted, while also being public officials of the Village, are acting as public officials of the Authority when they are dealing with Authority matters.  To the extent you desire Authority public records in a timely matter as required by the FOIA, you must submit a FOIA request directly to the Authority.

    However, in an effort to foster good community relations, I would ask Cindi, when and if she receives public records from the Authority, such as minutes (draft and approved), agendas, etc., that she forward those public records to you.  Please understand, however, that when forwarding these Authority public records to you, Cindi cannot be held to the time requirements under the FOIA or the OMA, since she has no control when, or if, she will receive those records from the Authority.

    If there are further questions concerning this matter, please let me know.


Response:

As Greg is Cindi’s husband, we are sure those draft documents and reports will be easily accessible. And as all notices for the Two Lakes Authority must contain a mailing address, telephone number and a contact person hopefully a fixed point of contact is now available?

And thank you too Ms. McPherson, we just received the Agendas for tonight’s (November 2017) 2 meetings. Can you please clarify the purpose of the first? It has been listed as a Public Meeting, a Public Information Meeting and a Public Hearing? Is this a discussion or an action meeting and for what desired outcome?

As the October Draft Minutes reference amendments to the FY2017-18 Budget when can we receive that .xls file please?

The Village’s renewed commitment to informing residents and property owners is commendable.

Bear Lake News Media Service

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