Economic Impacts

The access of public documents requires obligation financially. The new rule has no economic bearing to public in excess of that granted by the law. Persons requesting for the copies of government records are required for the appropriate fees as prescribed by the statue. The rule doesn’t ask for the additional fees. The payment for the copies is dependent on the number of copies or the volume of papers and the mode of delivery to the person requested. However, the rules will also require additional costs and personnel for the department involved in the processing.

The department will incur costs for the processing of the requested prepares and it is already anticipated that these costs will be incurred by the government including divisions and agency of the department. This law requires the additional operating costs for the papers to be processed. Moreover, it also necessitates the additional personnel of the department just to process the papers smoothly and effectively. The department will mandate the recognition of the proper custodian to be able to coordinate and respond to public interests.

For example, the department of Human Services in New Jersey has four divisions, offices and agencies. Each has different records. According to the law, it shall designate proper numbers of custodian, for example in Division of Mental Services. If there’s no custodian hired, a disruption of flow of work will happen for the department will require its existing staff to be the custodian in addition to their existing responsibilities. Reallocation of the existing personnel to be the custodian requires more responsibility.

Aside from their existing work, the public is anticipating a uniformity and effectively of the department to respond for the public requests. Such relocation is important for the failure of the department to comply with public requests will result in fines, as provided by the law. In addition, right to use of public records may be used by citizens to monitor and assess the government operation that may result for the effective government tasking. In addition, it will also reveal any government secrecy for personal advantage and expose official mistakes.

Critics Some people in some towns get irritated for sometimes they required multiple visits to the department or agency just to obtain the desired documents. Many people experienced a required follow-up visit or the clerk just tells the person to visit again in accordance with the custodian or clerk convenient time. Police Department, especially, seems that the citizens are obliged to have a multiple visits to the department for them to obtain the requested files.

Multiple visits are commonly caused by referring to other person who is not around by that time. In addition, multiple visits are also due to equipment problems in processing the papers. Sometimes, when a person visits a department toward the end of the business day, the tendency of the staff is to ask the person to return the following day. Aside from the multiple visits, the application of the paper to be accessed can be processed for quite some days. Technical papers are often the major problem in accessing it with public agencies.

Sometimes, according to some researchers, they are asked to request or fill up an application or request for to inspect for the public documents. The response to the letter took several days before it is approved. This delay makes the situation of the requiting person to be upsetting. Sometimes and the worst condition is when the requested or application letter just hang-up in the table until it is noticed. In addition, the staff behavior is also being criticized. According to some researchers, they evaluated the staff as ‘somewhat courteous’ and ‘courteous.

’ Disregarding the behavior of the staff in accession office, frequently, a person is asked to give their reasons for several times and they were also asked to prove themselves for their identity for quite times. Although this behavior is not against the law, the practice can be viewed as intimidating. In fact, there’s no rule in the law for asking for the reason behind the accession of a certain paper. In other states, even though the requested paper is available, the staff denied it from its accessibility or availability.

Conclusion The Open Public Records Act practices the rights of each citizen for democracy and for the public knowing. Although, there are criticisms arises from the implementation of the law, especially during the request or access of the paper, the overall effect of the law offers several advantages for the good of public and government operations.

Reference

Department of Human Services New Jersey. (2007). HUMAN SERVICES Access to Records Proposed New Rules: N. J. A. C. 10:1B [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 28 October 2007 from http://www.state.nj.us