Health department delaying for months, ignoring legal responsibilities
Today, the Wisconsin Transparency Project sent a letter to Public Health Madison & Dane County demanding that the health department cease delaying responding to record requests. The letter calls out PHMDC for delaying and ignoring requests for months on end, withholding basic information about the COVID pandemic and government’s response from the public.
“I’ve never received so many calls and emails from so many different people about a single department,” said Tom Kamenick, founder and President of the Wisconsin Transparency Project and author of the letter. “The health department has decided to put its obligations as record custodian far down its priority list, despite the legislature’s command that providing access to government records is an ‘essential function’ and that record requests must be fulfilled ‘as soon as practicable and without delay.’”
The letter threatens legal action if records are not forthcoming.
“I didn’t identify my clients and their specific record requests because my goal isn’t to get PHMDC to bump their requests up the priority list ahead in front of other people,” explained Kamenick. “My goal is to get PHMDC to bump all record requests up the priority list. Keeping people in the dark is no way to fight a pandemic.”
The letter also requests the document used by PHMDC to track record requests, or if PHMDC does not keep such a record, a copy of each record request sent to PHMDC since May 1, 2020.