News Story

Transit Agency Demands $300 to Reveal CEO's Salary

In 2009, the Michigan Department of State Police wanted to charge the Mackinac Center for Public Policy $6.8 million for a Freedom of Information Act regarding the state’s handling of federal homeland security grant money from 2002 to 2009.

But not all eyebrow raising costs for FOIA replies come with such a hefty price tag.

Consider the County of Muskegon’s reply to the Mackinac Center’s FOIA request for the CEO’s salary and benefits for the past two years at the Muskegon Area Transit System.

The County of Muskegon said they no longer had the 2009-10 information and the 2010-11 information would cost $300.

“Either Muskegon has the world’s most expensive employee or the world’s most expensive copier,” said Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst for the Mackinac Center.

Wright said it is “economic stonewalling.”

“They are throwing up a high dollar request hoping people would go away rather than fight it and that way they can keep the information hidden,” Wright said.

Muskegon Transit Manager Jim Koens referred questions to Mary Villanueva of the County of Muskegon Administration Office and said she was the one handling FOIA requests. Villanueva didn’t return an email seeking comment.

Most of the municipalities that get FOIA requests from the Mackinac Center provide the information with no charge.


See also:

What Price Information? Try $7 million

FOIA: One Word Makes a $7 Million Difference

MSU's "Fairly Ridiculous" FOIA Compliance

Public Payrolls and Political Workers

Freely Available Information Hidden in MSU's Reply to Freedom of Information Request

Politician Staffs: Your Money, Their Secret

Government Transparency and a New Government in 2011

House of Reps Adopts ‘Open Kimono’ Policy for Salaries and Other Financial Info