Delaware FOIA Watch - Waiting for the State to Respond

Vince MeconiOn August 5, 2009 at 2pm, State Rep. Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) filed a state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with Gov. Jack Markell seeking more information on the employment of former Dept. of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Sec. Vince Meconi.

Initially, Meconi's hiring was to have been for a limited three-month period, but according to reports, Meconi is still on the state payroll with no firm expiration date on his job as a consultant.

The News Journal reported Meconi is being paid $6,093.75 monthly for his consulting services in addition to $7,633.56 he is receiving each month from his state pension. Combined, Meconi is reaping nearly $165,000 in state money annually – topping the salary he made last year as DHSS secretary by more than $20,000.

It defies common sense that we need to pay someone more than $73,000 per year to track stimulus money when we already have the Lt. Governor's office, our congressional delegation, and the collective staffs of all our state departments overseeing this process,” Rep. Lavelle said.  “If we need Mr. Meconi’s services, I think it’s reasonable that taxpayers should know exactly what they’re getting for their money.”

Read the FOIA Request

Read the FOIA Response from Gov. Markell

The response has been received!

Stop the clock! The FOIA response has finally arrived.
It was delivered via regular mail service and arrived over the Labor Day weekend.

Read the FOIA Response from Gov. Markell

9/10/09 - "Administration’s Response to FOIA Request Raises More Questions"

Rep. Lavelle and the taxpayers of Delaware waited
4 weeks, 2 days, 22 hours and 37 minutes.

How long should it take?

The Delaware Attorney General's opinion was issued in February 1991 (Opinion 91-I003). In it, the AG opined that although Delaware's FOIA does not have a specific deadline, because the Federal FOIA generally requires a 10-day response period, agencies "should, within ten (10) days after receipt of a definitive request, issue a written determination to the requestor stating which of the requested records will, and which will not, be released and the reasons for any denial of a request. If the records are not known to exist or are not in the [agency's] possession, the requestor should be so informed."

The 10-day response time may be extended, "(1) When there is a need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request; (2) When there is a need to search for, collect, and examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records; and (3) When there is a need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency or agency counsel."

Relevant Documents & Links:

Contact Information:

If you happened to receive Governor Markell's response at your home or place of business (it may have been sent to the wrong address), please contact Rep. Lavelle.

The taxpayers of this state deserve to know the answers to the reasonable questions I asked on their behalf.
Paid for by Delaware State Representative Greg Lavelle.