Vienna’s slow FOIA response

I have been submitting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for over a year with very mixed results. This year, the city has used a sad process called “Delay, Deny, Defer and Decline” in responding to these requests.

On Jan. 4, I requested two documents from the city. One was a referenced email showing projected revenue for the 2014- 2015. The other was an alleged document handed out at the same time showing per the budget director where the approved budget items would be purchased through; the general budget or the capital reserve fund.

The FOIA requires a response in a maximum of five business days. My response was provided to me only on Feb. 13, 40 days later. The request for the above was denied. I again requested and revised some of the exact wording of the FOIA. On Feb. 28, I was advised again in a denial and advised that neither of the documents had ever been handed out at the meeting. Yet, on March 7, I received yet another response saying “a document” has been located which the city believes is the one I requested. Whether it is or not, I do not yet know. The fact that a document has been located is the issue.

Why the delays? Because the city did not want the public to have any idea how the city funds were to be manipulated to allow for what is more spending while proclaiming little or no increase. More on this in future disclosures. But for sure the city has violated the FOIA and did so intentionally to allegedly hide its funding processes.

In the budget passed March 13, but never disclosed in a budget meeting or at the meeting, was the intent for a starting salary of $52K for the Economic Development Person. This with benefits will be almost $80K total excluding support items. This position was to have been allegedly filled last year. It is now again on the table and will probably soon be open to the same person. This is cronyism at its worst. Is this more of the quid pro quo that is going on between him and Mr. Rapp?

Lawrence Wilson