The use of private firms and agencies to manage public records has been a hassle and a problem for not only records seekers but the government agencies who employ the services as well. Problems inevitably arise with the storage, retrieval or general access to records and the public bodies are usually held accountable for this failure. Miami, Florida is currently feeling this strain as tens of thousands of boxes of public records are being held hostage over a dispute arising from Miami’s supposed failure to pay the records management firm. The firm argues that Miami $340,000 while the city argues that they only owe $22,000. However, the only person who loses in this arrangement is the public who are unable to get to records that rightfully belong to them. Hopefully this issue sends up another warning signal as other governmental bodies consider privatizing such a core function as providing the public with the records which are rightfully theirs.
Editor of WikiFOIA
To read the original article, please see: Miami Herald, “Miami’s files held `hostage’”, 7/25/2010.