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July 21, 1997

 

 

 

Mr. Ricardo A. DiRose
85-C-0773
Box 700
Wallkill, NY 12589

The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to
issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is
based solely upon the information presented in your correspondence.

Dear Mr. DiRose:

As you are aware, I have received your letter of June 15. I
note that the letter did not reach this office until June 26.

You referred to a request for a contract between the State and
MCI. Following a constructive denial of access and the initiation
of an Article 78 proceeding, the State offered to disclose a copy
of the document at issue for a fee of sixty-eight dollars, and the
court dismissed the proceeding as moot. You wrote that you then
requested the document again, but that you sought to inspect it
rather than have a copy. When you were informed by the Department
of Correctional Services that it was not obliged to send the record
to your facility for your inspection, you appealed. In response to
the appeal, it was determined that "[t]here is no requirement under
FOIL to make any document available for review at any location
other than the place where the document exists." You have sought
my opinion on the matter.

In this regard, §87(2) of the Freedom of Information Law
requires that accessible records be made available for inspection
and copying, and the regulations promulgated by the Committee on
Open Government state in part that "[e]ach agency shall designate
the locations where records shall be available for public
inspection and copying" (21 NYCRR §1401.3). In my view, neither
the Law nor the regulations require that records be transferred
from their usual locations to accommodate an applicant at a site
convenient to the applicant. In short, while inmates may be
indigent or unable to travel, I do not believe that an agency is
required to make records available at other than its designated or
customary locations.

I hope that I have been of assistance.

Sincerely,

 

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director

RJF:tt

cc: Anthony J. Annucci
Mark Shepard