To determine if the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) and its subsidiaries have policies, procedures, and processes in place to fulfill CDTA’s responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), and to determine if CDTA is in compliance with its responsibilities under FOIL. The audit covered the period from January 1, 2017 through January 23, 2020.
About the Program
CDTA was created in 1970 by the New York State Legislature. Today, CDTA is the premier mobility provider in the Capital Region, providing regular route bus service, shuttle systems, and paratransit services. Article 6 of the New York State Public Officers Law provides for public access to government records. The statute, generally referred to as FOIL, applies to any State agency, public authority, and local government entity, with the exception of the judiciary and the State Legislature. Under FOIL, each agency, including public authorities, is required to make all eligible records available for public inspection or copying. Agencies are further required to promulgate rules and regulations pertaining to the availability of records and procedures to be followed, including the fees for copies of records. Within five days of receiving the FOIL request, FOIL requires agencies to make the requested records available, deny the request in writing, or furnish a written acknowledgment of the request that states the approximate date when such request will be granted or denied.
- CDTA’s policy is consistent with the provisions set forth in the FOIL statute. However, we found CDTA does not have formal internal procedures for processing FOIL requests, which has resulted in inconsistent practices regarding the timeliness of CDTA’s responses to FOIL requests.
- CDTA did not respond within the statutory time frame for 26 of the 111 FOIL requests it received during the audit period, and completely missed responding to 2. We found one request that was not acknowledged by CDTA for 100 business days. Further, due to incomplete information, we could not determine the timeliness for ten FOIL requests.
- CDTA does not have a formal method for tracking FOIL requests. Officials indicated there have been instances of FOIL requests being initially overlooked, resulting in a late response from CDTA.
- Develop and implement internal procedures to ensure FOIL requests and appeals are processed consistently.
- Provide formal training for employees involved in processing FOIL requests and appeals.
- Acknowledge and respond to FOIL requests within the time frames required by law. Grant or deny access to FOIL requests within five business days, or if more time is needed, acknowledge the receipt of the request in writing, indicating both the reason for the inability to grant the request within 20 business days and the approximate date when the request will be granted or denied.
- Maintain a log of all FOIL requests and related communications with requestors, and monitor this activity to ensure compliance with required time frames.
State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236