Yonkers Inspector General Dan Schorr issued his first report since he assumed his office last month.
His inaugural report looks at the city’s response times to Freedom of Information Law requests.
Schorr concluded that the city generally responds to FOIL requests in a timely manner, but he noted that “there are too many requests that remain open for lengthy periods of time without the required response.”
Schorr recommended that city departments and the city’s FOIL office Eric Arena better facilitate the timely production of requested documents.
In 2009 the city received 246 FOIL requests for most of the city’s departments.
Schorr noted that while Arena has regular contacts in each city department, his communications are “generally informal and at times lends itself to unresponsiveness and a lack of accountability.”
Schorr recommended that each department have a FOIL liaison who would ensure that all FOIL requests are fully addressed. Other recommendations included: written memos between the FOIL officer and department liaisons; standardized response forms; written policies and procedures for responding to FOIL; and increased use of e-mail to respond to FOIL requests more quickly.
Yonkers Councilwoman Joan Gronowski, D-3rd District, initiated the resolution that prompted the IG to launch the FOIL review. This afternoon Gronowski said she’s glad Schorr did the review.
“I had issues two years ago with being given information that was not what I asked for,” she said. “I don’t know if that’s as much a problem today.”
Gronowski also said that she’s gotten quicker responses to her FOIL letters from Arena since the City Council asked the IG to review FOIL request responses.
A copy of the report is attached on the jump: