As one of Michigan’s most trusted watchdog groups, we have worked hard to hold the Snyder administration accountable for managing the contract between Aramark and the Department of Corrections. To that end, we submitted a FOIA request on September 12th asking for all documents related to the contract.
It’s two-plus months later and we’re still waiting for answers. I have been in constant contact with officials in Corrections since we first requested the information. I was first told that the documents would be ready in October and then told that they would be ready right after the election. The delay was because there were over 4,000 pages to review. Just last week, I was told that the number had swelled to 15,000 pages and today I was told that the documents related to the contract are over 25,000 pages long.
There are a lot of questions that need to be asked regarding timeframes for responses and the massive cost associated with public records requests. Should it cost a citizen thousands of dollars to keep tabs on a $145 million dollar contract that benefits an out-of-state corporation? Should it take months to get answers?
Here is what we can promise. We will continue to work to hold the Snyder administration accountable. We will continue to keep the public informed when we get answers (I imagine we’ll find some noteworthy info in 25,000 pages of documents). Finally, we will invite supporters of open, accountable government to join us in calling for the type of FOIA reform that will allow citizens to hold their government accountable.