from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
to: Kerri Glover <[email protected]>,
cc: “John D. Gossett” <[email protected]>,
“Carolyn H. Rice” <[email protected]>
date: Jun 7, 2022, 4:03 PM
subject: Re: Records Request: (March 2022) Request for A-B Tech: Marketing & Advertising Service contract(s) and agreements(s) 2020 – 2022
Hi Kerri (Christopher, and all CCed),
I’m following up again on my email from May 18. I have not received a response.
On March 30th I submitted a simple public records request for “Asheville – Buncombe Technical Community College Marketing & Advertising Service contract(s) and agreement(s) for the time period of 2020 through 2022”.
Kerri indicated that “… There is one advertising service contract in the timeframe specified. Pursuant to NC public records law, the party seeking the information may come in person to our office and make a copy of the contract and provide payment to the College for the copies.” And “… pursuant to NC public records law, the requestor may come to our office to make a copy of the contract and reimburse A-B Tech for the cost. We follow the NC public records law. As you must know, it does not require us to provide electronic copies or specify a time for the response. But we will be glad to provide the contract if the requestor wants to make an appointment.”
That is a misinterpretation of the NC Public Records Law, and as a result A-B Tech has not fulfilled the request. I did not ask for a paper copy of an electronic record, nor did I ask you to create a record in a format in which it does not already exist. I’ve asked repeatedly for the following clarification – Does the responsive record (contract) exist in an electronic format? I imagine it does, and if such a record exists, then by Law it must be provided – You should be able to send that to me via email.
Creating arbitrary barriers to access public records by requiring requesters to come in person to “inspect” or “copy” an electronic record, is inappropriate and does not comply with the law.
Additionally – Kerri has stated: “… The anonymous nature of these requests hampers communication. Most of the public records requests we receive have a stated purpose and are not anonymous”. A-B Tech is required to process all valid public records requests under NC Public Records Law. Under which, there is no requirement that people making records requests have to provide a purpose, or even a name, to associate with a request.
However, for the purpose of records keeping, you can consider this and all requests sent from the email [email protected] to be made by:
PO Box 17391
Asheville, NC 28816
If you are intentionally delaying fulfillment or response to the request by allowing it to “sit” until staff has availability or feels like addressing, then I worry you are not processing public records requests in compliance with the Law.
With this in mind, I want to highlight the court case referenced in item #6 of the following article, posted on the NC Press Association website. In this instance: “The trial court held that an unjustified one-month delay in production of records was tantamount to a denial”.
I respectfully ask again that legal staff take immediate action to resolve this issue and ensure that ALL public records requests are being fulfilled by AB-Tech as required under NC Public Records Law. I will continue to submit public records requests to A-B Tech in the future, and I would like assurance that I will receive a response and that requests are being processed by your offices in accordance with the law.
~ The Sunshine Request Team