To the Editor:
This letter addresses the same issue described in the Feb. 19 Blue Mountain Eagle: request for viewing/inspection of a clearly defined set of public documents. I was advised by Grant County Sheriff's Office that a CD has been prepared in response to my public records request, which I can purchase. But I wish to see the originals. Oregon law gives me a right to do so (ORS 192.314).
Then I was informed that I may indeed view the original documents, contained in files and other formats — after paying $288 for time spent to research, compile, organize and other office related chores, plus time for someone to supervise my inspection of said records. At $36 per hour, that's eight hours total. They're allowed to charge for extra time related to document viewing, but how much additional time is needed on top of the time they have to spend to categorize and file complaints on a running basis? It seems rather subjective and a "punishment" for a legitimate request. (The Eagle's $1,200 bill, cited in the Feb. 19 issue, breaks down to 33.33 hours. A week's workload.)
I therefore requested to view the 19 files only. Referred to as "files," I assumed them ready for viewing. I have yet to be advised of a date.
Point is: State law requires compliance with lawfully and officially designated duties. Keeping records and making them available to the public is one of those duties. This falls mainly to the undersheriff and office staff. In putting a price on compliance, the public is asked to pay again for services already paid for through taxation.