Let’s make a deal – you give me $650 today, and five years from now I’ll give you $10,000 back. That incredible return on investment is what some forward-thinking federal agencies are offering taxpayers, according to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Commerce and NARA are working together to create:
[A] multi-agency FOIA portal that automates FOIA processing and reporting, sores FOIA requests and responses in a repository and keeps records electronically. Not to mention allows requestersto submit requests to fewer government websites, track the status of requests and find, view and download FOIA requests and agency responses, all in a secure online environment.
For an investment of $1.3 million now, the agencies expect the project could save $200 million over the next five years if adopted government-wide.
As our friends at Sunshine Review noted, “difficulty finding where particular FOIA requests must be sent can be troublesome enough when dealing with local governments. The massive scope of the Federal government presents and even more daunting challenge.”
This could be a great model for New York State: invest a little now, save a lot down the road, and improve government transparency in the process. While Governor Cuomo and the Legislature are at it, they should take another look at this model legislation (for more time and money saving ideas).