Linda at Celtic Diva wrote last week that she was being charged $65,706 for her request for public records. She posted the following response she got to her request:
To provide complete responses to the email portions of your request, we will need to electronically search the email accounts of the 71 current and former employees who have worked in the Governor's Executive Offices since December 2006. For that electronic search, we will need the assistance of the State Security Office in the Department of Administration, Division of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS). ETS estimates that each email account retrieval, search, and record production will require 16 hours to complete. The ETS hourly rate is $54.84, so ETS estimates its costs per email account will be $925.44. Based on that estimate, ETS's estimated costs for obtaining records from 71 employee email accounts total $65,706.
I have a search function on my email. I can get the list of emails I've received and sent to someone up in a couple of minutes. Why should it take computer experts so much longer?
I asked someone I know and trust on technology issues. Here's my source's response to the question whether it should really take that long to do such a search:
no. it's stonewalling. it's not impossible that it took 16 hours the
first time, if they spent 15.5 hours screwing around, but for all
future times, it ought to take 5 minutes.
Aside from that, am I missing something? Let's see:
$54.84 * 16 hours = $925.44
How did they get that? When I do it by hand I get $877.44. When I do it again on a calculator I get the same. If they can't even multiply correctly, how can they be expected estimate the time correctly, or even do the programming they need to find the emails?
But $877.44 is still outrageous and $62,297.24 ($877.44*71 searches) is still way too pricey.
I also looked up ETS on the web. They have a link to a page of consulting rates. There's no position listed at $54.84.
Maybe Sarah Palin is beginning to understand why Randy Ruedrich was so irritated with her when she made ethics complaints against him. Do you think she's apologized to him?