How Many College Bureaucrats Does It Take To Answer A Records Request?

U-M employs three highly paid administrators

The Oakland County Sheriff’s department received 1,676 FOIA requests in 2016. These requests are processed by one full-time employee who earns $48,724 a year.

“Usually, we respond within five days,” said Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe.

Recently the University of Michigan took 106 days to release four emails in response to a Freedom of Information Act request related to political activities in the president’s office. Officials there this week said it would take them six weeks to fulfill another open-records law request.

Generally, public institutions have up to 15 business days to respond to a FOIA request, and most release the information within that time.

The Mackinac Center submitted another records request to U-M on Feb. 14. University officials demanded a $225 deposit (half their estimated cost) before they would begin the collection process, which they said would take six weeks. The request was for reports of alleged bias incidents reported to U-M.

In 2011, the university stated that it averaged about 400 FOIA requests in a typical year.

U-M top administrators overseeing FOIAs include: Kallie B. Michels, Chief public relations officer, who is paid $199,049 annually; Deborah Lee Doyle, Chief freedom of information officer, $146,641; Patricia Sellinger, Freedom of information policy coordinator, $94,254.

In 2014 the Legislature passed a law intended to close various loopholes in Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act. However, the law still does not specify what constitutes a reasonable amount of time for public institutions to provide documents once they agree to turn over the public records.

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