To the editor,
This is in regard to your March 10 editorial, on a proposal by Rep. Adam Dunsby to charge a $125 fee for a FOI (Freedom of Information) request.
First things first: this is a very good job by you folks (i.e editors) at Citizen’s News, as I doubt very many of us would be aware of this piece of proposed legislation. I apologize for the somewhat dated reply here, as I didn’t see this until recently.
In a word, stellar, by Citizen’s News, that is. Not the honorable Mr. Dunsby.
In any event, a quick internet search reveals that Mr. Dunsby is the former First Selectman of Easton, so it’s not too difficult to surmise where he is coming from with this type of thinking.
Before getting into it, let’s take another look at “Home Rule” another topic you folks touched on recently (Sept 16, 2016 issue), albeit only in an economic sense. Home Rule also exists in a legislative sense. In reality, there is very little oversight over municipalities on their own legislative matters. They are left to govern themselves. It is assumed that ordinances and regulations are drawn up, voted on, established, and consistently followed by the municipalities. When they are not, what often ensues is a ridiculous free-for-all. The FOI request (and, henceforth, complaint), is one of the few alternatives a citizen has at his disposal.
Eliminating it, or rather, making it expensive, is giving carte blanche to town governments to be inept. Citizens don’t pay because their government is inept. OK, well maybe they just shouldn’t.
Adam Dunsby says no, or else cough up the $125 — a slick little maneuver that might help balance the budget.
Here’s another little tidbit: The Freedom of Information Commission has an officer whose primary duty is to educate on and (yes) promote the practice of FOI. What’s his pitch going to be now? “Let’s hear it for FOI, everyone. And don’t forget to bring your checkbook.”
As far as Mr. Dunsby is concerned, if someone came to an Easton Board of Selectmen’s meeting and tried his patience, I’m very sorry to hear that. However, nobody put a gun to his head and forced him into a career in politics. In fact, by the looks of this guy, he’d make a fine investment banker.
Seriously, in the current state of affairs, the play is to reduce government transparency?
Whether or not this man is a Republican or a Democrat is irrelevant. This is one of the most ill-advised proposals you will see. I would rank it up there with that of Mr. Jonathan Swift.
You made the analogy “shooting a fly with a cannon.” in so many words.
Legislation such as this, as well as those who produce it, should be loaded into a cannon and shot far away.