2 public entities allegedly violate Rhode Island's open records laws

By Mark Payne | Feb 9, 2015

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin   Rhode Island Attorney General's Office

The Nasonville Fire District and the Department of Business Regulation (DBR) reached settlements with Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin on Friday after both organizations allegedly violated the state's open records laws.

Nasonville Fire District will pay $1,500 and acknowledge that it purposefully violated the Access to Public Records Act (APRA), and the DBR will pay $1,000 for alleged recklessness related to the law.

The Nasonville Fire District allegedly violated the APRA on Jan. 15, 2014 when it didn’t respond within the required 10-day time frame to an open records request from the International Association of Fire Fighters. The association filed a complaint with the attorney general's office on April 14, and on Sept. 22 the attorney general's office found the fire department violated the APRA. Additional information provided on Jan. 8 showed the fire department willfully violated the APRA.

DBR allegedly didn’t respond to an open records request on Sept. 19, 2013, which was filed by Scripps News. It finally  responded approximately two month later.

"While the set of facts in each of these cases are different from one another, it is striking that both violations are a result of failing to respond in a timely manner,” Kilmartin said. “The easiest aspect of APRA to comply with is perhaps acknowledging a request and responding within the allowable timeframe. It is my hope these lawsuits and settlements will serve as a reminder to all public bodies to be vigilant in complying with our open government laws.”

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