Friday Follow-a-FOIA, January 2008

As our loyal readers know, we started a Friday Follow-a-FOIA project back in November.

The first project we started ended up four posts later when we learned–in what must have been the easier open records request ever filed–that the 2006 utility bills for the Wisconsin governor’s mansion were $41,751.00.

The project we’re starting today is bound to be more complicated.

Members of the public are entitled to know who communicates with elected officials when legislation is under consideration.

Mark Gottlieb is a Republican assemblyman, representing Wisconsin’s 60th assembly district. Gottlieb is one of 14 sponsors of Assembly Bill 553 (AB 553).

In Wisconsin, there are statewide laws that govern how cities and towns are obliged to solicit and consider bids for large-scale public projects, such as new buildings. The purpose of these laws is to make sure that the public gets the best possible building for the most reasonable price.

AB 553 is a proposal to change these requirements. Under the proposed new law, when municipalities look at bids from project consultants (such as those who provide “architectural services, engineering services, land surveying services, landscape architecture services”, etc.), the municipality is required to consider the qualifications of a consultant, without having any information about the consultant’s fees. The local unit of government is supposed to rank all consultants who bid on a job based entirely on their qualifications and experience, and then attempt to enter into a suitable contract with the highest-rank consultant.

In our FOIA, we’ll ask Rep. Gottlieb for copies of any correspondence he has received from organizations or members of the public either supporting or opposing this new legislation.

Since the Wisconsin Assembly website makes it very easy to find contact information for Rep. Gottlieb and his staff, but doesn’t say who to submit a FOIA to, I’ve decided to send an informal FOIA request via e-mail directly to Rep. Gottlieb.

Here’s what I sent.

Friday FOIA scorecard:

I’m impressed with the state assembly’s website, which made it easy to find information about Rep. Gottlieb, the committees he is on and the bills he has sponsored.

It would be good if the websites of each member of the assembly also included information about how to request public documents, and where to send the request.

Tune in next week.

One response to “Friday Follow-a-FOIA, January 2008

  1. Pingback: Friday Follow-a-FOIA, January 2008, Part III « Open Records

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