Call for examples of CPRA delays

CNPA needs compelling evidence from members.

CNPA has heard complaints for years that agencies drag their heels in responding to requests under the California Public Records Act. Now, CNPA is looking to do something about it.

The CPRA requires “prompt” production of documents that are disclosable, but in practice, agency response times are often anything but prompt. To achieve any legislative change to the structure of the CPRA response times, CNPA needs to show the legislature that change is needed.

Delays come in many forms, from systemically slow response times, to third-party, reverse-CPRA actions which can create years of delay. An example of such dilatory tactics was when the Camarillo Acorn reported that a former CEO had sued the local health care district, her former employer, to prevent the release of voice mail messages that the district had agreed to give the newspaper.

In seeking a temporary restraining order, the employee delayed access, perhaps permanently, to records that could contain evidence that the employee bilked the district of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In response, the Acorn wrote a scathing editorial to draw attention to the issue.

Newspapers that regularly utilize the CPRA can also provide insight into how agencies are effectuating the laws, particularly when the city has an open data portal. Recently the San Diego Union-Tribune analyzed the average response time to CPRA requests by agencies across the city, resulting in an illuminating look at compliance with the Act.

Please call or email any stories and documents related to CPRA requests where agencies have delayed responding, or legal arguments they’ve made in delaying disclosure, to CNPA Legal Counsel Nikki Moore or (916) 288-6006.