A redacted freedom of information request received from the City of Nanaimo earlier this year. NEWS BULLETIN photo

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: If city provides more info, fewer FOIs will be needed

I don’t agree that the city should try to limit reasonable requests, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: City of Nanaimo busy with flurry of FOI requests, April 26.

When I was in college, some friends and I were interested in radio as a medium and we formed a society from the Radio Club. As treasurer, I wouldn’t pay out expenses without board approval and a receipt. The receipts were glued to a piece of paper and included in the minutes. In-camera meetings were for land, legal, or labour issues and I think we had two of them in three years.

There’s no reason you couldn’t make a PDF file of the actual receipts from every employee in the city and index it online. The metadata alone would be fascinating – dates and times of purchases, vendor names, prices. If you want to expense a coffee, we who ultimately pay for it should know what it costs where you buy it.

Making more information available and searchable would mean less call for FOI requests, which take time and resources that might be better apportioned elsewhere. Yet I don’t agree that the city should try to limit reasonable requests.

If we can shine more light on the absolute fiasco of the city’s choice of CAO (or the expenses of the city’s CFO) through FOI requests than we can through the city’s public relations team, then the project might just pay for itself.

Ian Poole, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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