FOIA changes in Delaware’s largest county

Effective May 1, New Castle County Executive Paul Clark says it will be easier and cheaper for people to access public records under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The county executive plans to sign an executive order he says models the one adopted by the state last fall. 

“We took to heart Governor Markell’s challenge in this year’s State of the State address for the counties to join him in strengthening their commitment to transparency,” Clark said. “We reviewed our FOIA policies and made changes to make it easier for members of the public to obtain the documents they request.”

The order establishes a standardized FOIA request form for county departments to use, designates FOIA points of contact and reduces fees for such requests. 

Governor Markell applauds Clark’s move. “County Executive Clark has answered our challenge. By waiving fees and significantly cutting costs, he is making county government more open and accessible.”

In one deviation from the state, the county will continue its policy of requiring departments to respond to FOIA within 10 business days; the state gives its departments 15 days to respond.

FOIA requests may be made in person, by mail, email, or fax to the department’s FOIA coordinator. The new policy, request form and a list of department coordinators and their locations will be available by May 1 at www.nccde.org or by calling 302-395-5555.

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