OFM was withholding from a public records request contract negotiation documents between the state and public sector unions
Washington Policy Center
As initially reported by the Washington Policy Center, The Citizen Action Defense Fund (CADF) won a public records lawsuit against The Office of Financial Management (OFM).
OFM was withholding from a public records request contract negotiation documents between the state and public sector unions. As noted in the CADF request, the Public Records Act had no limitations on public records related to contract negotiations. A Thurston County Superior Court Judge agreed.
The amended penalty ruling issued 5/24/23 ordered OFM to pay attorneys’ fees in the amount of $32,115.13, costs of $1,057.38 for a total of $33,172.51. This does not include the statutory penalty of $6 per day which as of the court order was $1,104.00.
CADF’s director Jackson Maynard remarked:
“The court’s final order holds the Governor’s Office of Financial Management accountable and demonstrates that he violated the letter and spirit of the Public Records Act. We look forward to receiving the check with our fees, costs, and penalties and as well as the records the court ruled were illegally withheld, but are prepared if the State decides to continue to contest this matter.”
OFM’s refusal to comply with the Public Records Act is now costing the taxpayers almost $35,000.
There are other examples of the state attempting to withhold records from public disclosure, and the legal challenges that have followed. As noted in the article there are a variety of benefits for increased public transparency and open government.
Additional proposals have been introduced to help citizens looking to access public records. WPC’s Jason Mercier provided insight into this legislation and why it is needed in a recent opinion editorial.
Chris Corry is the director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center. He is also a member of the Washington state House of Representatives.
- Opinion: State salary report shows running a school district is often the best job in townLiv Finne of the Washington Policy Center believes that it’s important for the public to be informed about how much school leaders are paid and how effective the system is at educating children. Washington State Fiscal Information
- Letter: ‘The process for restoring an effective representative form of government is now about the healthy functioning of citizens’ minds on important matters’Matt Garland states that Congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is misusing federal funds by using taxpayer dollars to pay for her campaign mailers and that her town halls are really not public outreach town halls.
- Should Washington workers fired for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine be rehired by the state?Should Washington workers fired for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine be rehired by the state?
- Opinion: Godspeed to rehiring – Get on board, governorElizabeth Hovde believes an outreach effort by the state should contain a mea culpa that’s as loud and clear as was the shaming of public employees who chose not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Opinion: State’s income tax windfall isn’t needed – public schools have plenty of moneyLiv Finne states that in Washington, ‘fully funding the schools’ means funding the interests of powerful unions, bureaucracies, and feeding ever-growing amounts of tax money into an increasingly unpopular monopoly system.