City limits access to public records
Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Oct. 6, 2002
It isn't easy to copy or inspect public records in Meridian.
The Meridian Star filed a formal, written public records request in June with Meridian officials asking for access to information on legal expenses for the previous 21 months.
The city, however, supplied photo copies of incomplete records.
Some of the documents had a large, square hole sliced from the middle by employees of the city's office of Finance and Records. City officials said they removed information they claimed was protected from public view by the state's public records laws.
The excised portions apparently contained details about lawsuits and legal fees that the city already had paid.
Besides that, the city charged $105 to prepare the records for release. City officials said the price covered pulling documents, sorting information and removing portions from public view.
The Star originally requested information regarding all of the city's legal expenses between Jan. 1, 1999, and May, 31, 2002. The request was then limited to Oct. 1, 2000, through June 30, 2002, to reduce compilation costs.