Media Moves

The business journal and the public records request

August 16, 2019

Posted by Chris Roush

An editorial in this week’s Memphis Business Journal examines the local government’s track record of responding to public records requests.

The editorial states, “At least twice, an MBJ open records request with the City has taken in excess of a year for the records to be returned. While waiting for one of those requests, MBJ editor Greg Akers met with a high-level city staffer (who we do not name because the meeting was on background) and complained that the request was a year old.

“The records were sent to MBJ three days after that meeting.

“In a July interview for the story, the city’s attorney said it was hard to know if that timing was a coincidence. If it wasn’t, it suggests it wasn’t that the city couldn’t get the request fulfilled; it was that they just hadn’t. If it was a coincidence, it doesn’t negate the year-long wait.

“The larger problem with this incident is that regular citizens, by and large, don’t have a way of speeding up their requests. They aren’t having private meetings with high-level city staffers.”

Read more here.

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