Wisconsin court: Government can't charge for redactions
MADISON- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn says a state Supreme Court finding that government entities can't charge record requesters for time spent redacting information shifts the cost to taxpayers.
The court's decision Wednesday settles a dispute between Flynn's department and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper. The paper sued the department after the agency demanded about $4,000 to cover staff time spent on redactions.
Flynn issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying his agency will comply with the ruling:
"We will comply with the Supreme Court's ruling. Clearly, the ruling has immediate consequences, as the costs of replying to the open records requests of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - including their requests within the last week for more than 61,000 reports, all of which require redaction under state law - will for now be borne by the taxpayers of the City of Milwaukee.
"We do note that the Supreme Court did not easily dismiss the City's arguments, but indicated that the legislature's oversight in not including redaction costs in the list of costs that can be charged to a requestor must be remedied by the legislature."
Journal-Sentinel projects editor Greg Borowski says the newspaper simply wants an electronic database, not 61,000 pieces of paper.