Carolina Public Press: war of words over records fees cites Asheville, Charlotte

From Carolina Public Press:

In the growing dispute over how much state and local government agencies should charge for providing public records, Gov. Pat McCrory‘s top attorney cited Asheville and Charlotte’s policies to justify a rise in fees. But according to staffers in both cities who handle records requests, the two municipalities rarely, if ever, levy extra charges.

At issue is how to interpret part of North Carolina’s public records law, which generally asserts that public records should be available for free or for the costs of duplicating them.

An exception in the law has sparked a debate between N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat who is expected to run for governor in 2016, and McCrory, a Republican.

The law reads, in part: “If the request (for public records) is such as to require extensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the agency involved … then the agency may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special service charge, which shall be reasonable and shall be based on the actual cost incurred.”


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