Open records often come at a high cost in Massachusetts, reports the Boston Globe. In one example, the volunteer editor of a Somerville news blog sent a detailed request to city officials for information about parking tickets and the city's responses to citizen complaints. Somerville officials said they would provide the information–at a cost of $200,000. The Globe said public agencies in the state have shown an increasing propensity to flout the state's public records law by engaging in long delays or by charging exorbitant fees.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin's office, which is responsible for enforcing the public records law, said most complaints about open records violations are made by ordinary individuals with little hope of raising the money government agencies often charge. Galvin said the number of complaints is rising. “Many of the initial complaints are from average citizens,'' Galvin said. “A lot of it is town politics, but that doesn't matter. If someone wants to know who got the doughnut contract with the local schools, they should be able to find out.''