Twenty Government Agencies in New York are responsible for over 66 per cent. of appeals seeking the release of Government records, an analysis of New York State Committee on Open Government data has shown, with the New York Police Department behind the largest number of open records requests that triggered challenges.
Of 4,077 FOIL Appeals tracked on a spreadsheet maintained by the Committee on Open Government, the NYPD was responsible for at least 961 challenges filed by the makers of FOIL Requests. The New York State Dept. of Corrections and Community Supervision, the City of Rochester Law Department, Suffolk County, and the New York State Dept. of Health rounded up the top 5 Government Agencies triggering the most FOIL Appeals.
Combined, 20 Government Agencies in New York generated 2,731 challenges out of a total of 4,077 FOIL Appeals tracked on Committee on Open Government spreadsheet. The data was provided to Progress New York in response to a request filed under the State’s Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL. Progress New York is seeking records about FOIL Appeals and their dispositions ; records about FOIL Appeals and determinations made thereon are required by law to be forwarded to the Committee on Open Government.
As has been widely-reported, Gov. Kathleen Hochul (D-NY) has promised that, “Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration,” she told talk show host Joseph Scarborough during an MSNBC interview.
Despite her promise, Government Agencies in New York refuse to explain their record of triggering so many FOIL Appeals.
The office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information at the NYPD did not answer a press inquiry about having been the target of so many disputes over their decision to deny or withhold access to Government records. Silence was also the response from officials with the New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene and the New York City Dept. of Transportation, two of the top 20 Government Agencies triggering the most FOIL Appeals. In total, five New York City Agencies were amongst the top 20 Authorities that gave rise to the most challenges.
In 2015, the news Web site Gothamist reported that New York City Hall were “screening” open records requests that reflected on Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City). For this report, the press office supporting Mayor de Blasio did not answer an interview request.
The press office supporting Gov. Hochul, likewise, did not answer an interview request for this report.