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McGrail wants city manager to revisit public records policy

By Staff | Nov 21, 2011

Cape City Councilmember Kevin McGrail wants the city manager to revisit his public records policy, which unilaterally dropped the threshold of “excessive” requests from an hour to fifteen minutes.

City Manager Gary King made the switch last month.

Complaints from citizens who’ve received bills of over $700 for their public records requests prompted the council member to speak out on the issue, McGrail said.

He’d prefer the “excessive” time frame to be at the 30-minute threshold.

“I call for that to go to a half hour as an interim time frame,” McGrail said. “It’s a happy median and we can evaluate from that point.”

King said that since the change has been put in place, a vast majority of all requests have fallen within the 15-minute threshold and only 1 percent exceeded the newly established time frame.

“I don’t think the perception of what the impact of this is to the public is quite what some think it is,” King said.

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said the city manager’s job is to manage the city how he sees fit.

“I don’t believe it’s this council’s job to get down in the weeds and overturn the city manager’s regulation,” he said.

The city manager has the authority to set the public records policy how he sees fit, according to City Attorney Dolores Menendez, but council has the ability to vote to change the policy, if it sees fit.

“Council sets policy – and this is policy,” Councilmember Marty McClain said.