Rick Scott's Office Unveils a Slightly Less Ridiculous Plan for Records Requests

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Since Gov. Rick Scott's office decided that the public and reporters had to pay a price for open government in early March, it's been a huge complaint.

They're not backtracking on charging people, but they're having a sale on getting information, according to a memo released today by the governor's office.

The memo, from the governor's communication director, Brian Burgess, says that the state will now impose "a special service charge" if someone submits a records request that takes a bit of brain capacity for a worker to fill.

In Burgess' words, "A special service charge will be imposed if the nature or volume of public records requested requires extensive use of information technology resources and/or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by agency personnel."

The good part, though, is that all the "labor" will be billed based on the pay of the lowest-paid staffer in the governor's "Office of Open Government."

That means instead of paying Brian Burgess' $110,000 salary by the hour, you get to pay the lowest cost in the office for government to perform its job, although they managed to avoid mentioning what the salary is of the lowest-paid employee.

On a more embarrassing note, after it cost someone more money to get 1,100 of Burgess' emails than it did for someone to acquire 24,000 of Sarah Palin's emails, another new recommendation made it into the bottom of the memo:

Labor costs can be reduced significantly if requests include keywords instead of open-ended terms such as "all documents or emails." Similarly, narrowing a request to certain individuals or divisions can greatly reduce the use of extensive labor.

Do we really need the Florida Constitution if we can just get executive orders from the governor?

The state constitution sure doesn't make reference to paying money for public records and in fact says the public has the "right" to inspect or copy any public record.

Sure, the governor's trying to save taxpayer money, but maybe it would just be reckless to follow a silly thing like the constitution.

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