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WHA: Two records requests will cost more than $125,000


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Wilmington Housing Authority says two recent public records requests will cost the authority more than $125,000. As a result, the agency is asking for more specific requests.

WHA says a request by former New Hanover County Commission and Wilmington City Council candidate Napier Fuller involves four years of "emails, letters, communications, charts and other documentary materials" between the CEO and Board of Commissioners along with all "legal settlement files." WHA says Fuller's request will involve approximately 93,000 emails and 11,000 documents. While Fuller has requested these documents in digital format, WHA says the costs in the required legal review will more than $70,000.

The StarNews has requested all written correspondence, sent or received, involving any and all members of Wilmington Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners and correspondence involving WHA's former CEO and the interim CEO, the authority said. The request applies to all personal e-mail accounts the Commissioners use to conduct public business, according to a WHA news release. WHA says the StarNews request will cost WHA more than $56,500

The WHA says it has been working on both of the requests since they were received. Due to the vast nature and extreme costs related to the requests, WHA has asked Fuller and the newspaper to submit a more detailed, concise request.

"Wilmington Housing Authority believes in full transparency," the authority's release said, "but fiscal responsibility is of utmost concern as well as the financial impact this will have to the community."

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Why should it cost anything

Why should it cost anything to produce public records other than copy paper? Sounds like WHA has something to hide.

Government vs Private Sector

You would think that our government agencies would have the proper software to provide this information in a matter of days not weeks.

These requests should not cost anything. They already have people working in the office. Require those who make the request to provide the proper media (thumb drive, CD, External Hard Drive) etc. do a search, using the criteria provided in the request and, IF they had the proper software (needed to run any, professional, office) the computer could compile the records overnight (on a slow, outdated) computer. This does not effect me one bit but it is, slightly embarrassing that our, local government is so "behind the times".

Wilmington Observer

No matter the cost...

seems to be WHA's mantra when they want to refurbish one of the "projects"...yet to comply with a request that is mandated by law...they balk?

"legal review" in the documents provided will be in redacted format?