by Clancy DuBos
The Times-Picayune reported on Saturday, Aug. 2, that Mayor Ray Nagins administration took six months to respond to a public records request. The request was for copies of the résumés of 21 people who applied for the citys top IT job, held until recently by the college-degree-challenged, résumé-enhancing Anthony Jones. The TP mentions the six-month delay in getting the résumés almost in passing.
Bloggers have criticized the daily newspaper for years, and rightfully so, for going easy on Nagin. When Marc Morial was mayor, the TP was tenacious in its insistence that public records requests be honored in a timely fashion within 72 hours, according to state law (La. R.S. 44:1-41).
That same law provides civil remedies, including attorneys fees and penalties of up to $100 a day that can be paid to the records requester. The law also imposes criminal penalties against anyone with custody or control of a public record who violates the law or hinders the inspection of a public record. Those penalties include fines of $100 to $1,000 or jail time of one-to-six months for a first conviction. Subsequent convictions trigger fines of $250 to $2,000 for each offense, or imprisonment for two-to-six months or both.
So, why hasnt Nagin, or someone in his administration, ever been prosecuted? More to the point, why hasnt the TP filed a criminal complaint or at least a lawsuit? The paper didnt hesitate to file a lawsuit when Marc Morial was mayor.
Kinda makes one wonder