Following APS once again wrongfully denying requests under the Inspection of Public Records Act, a settlement order has been issued, which required APS to pay $40,000 in damages, $14,000 in attorney’s fees, release the records in question within five days, and implement a series of new policies and procedures for handling requests.
Under the settlement, all APS staff will complete training on IPRA and forwarding requests to custodians should they receive them. APS records custodians will be required to complete training and undergo retraining and face possible disciplinary action for noncompliance with the statute. APS will be mandated to employ an adequate number of records custodians and maintain adequate software and hardware to fulfill requests. Lastly, a log detailing which employees responded to the requests and all communications with the requestor will be kept.
This settlement represents a blueprint for IPRA best practices, and FOG is optimistic it will improve public access.
Read a news story about the settlement here.
And an editorial from the Albuquerque Journal here.