Over a week and a half ago we suggested some other practical ways Mayor Fisona should be able to make some of the MPIA requested public records available. These are simply straight-forward documents that clarify what the town council promised Elk Landing in order to get it to agree to give up its 99-year lease on public land, we think. So we were surprised that the current MPIA request is going to build on the tangled web even more by not be available for public examination. In reference to one of our very simple and practical suggestions for procuring a portion of the request, we’ve been told that the mayor wants a consultation with others before providing data.
As Mayor Fisona consults with others about complying with this request, we thought some information from the state might provide guidance. The Maryland Public Information Act manual is very helpful in understanding the broad rights of the public to access records that are in the possession of government. Additionally, the Office of the Attorney General publishes detailed information to help citizens and local government manage this process on its web site at www.oag.state.md.us.
We also see that the state archives has criteria for local governments related to records retention policies so they don’t run into these types of issues. Perhaps someone at the town should talk to someone at the archives, so Someone Noticed and the public can figure out what was promised.
The town should develop a records retention policy and enforce it, we think. But we also suspect that the administration is busy working on a purchase order system for a government entity that spends millions of dollars each year, apparently without that basic fiscal policy being in place. We recall what Mayor Crouse said at a public meeting, The town had one under his administration so he was surprised they didn’t these days. Perhaps after they finish with that important fiscal practice, they can write a records retention policy.
We shall see.