The St. Augustine Record is reporting Public officials, ignorant of the law or paralyzed by suspicion, regularly thwart citizens exercising their constitutional right to inspect public records, a statewide audit has found.
While journalists and attorneys enjoy the benefits of Florida's open government laws, the same rights are not always granted to Florida's other residents.
The governor's office was the only one of six state agencies audited that failed to comply with the public records law. Some government agencies tried to justify their suspicions by citing heightened security concerns brought on by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"Basically, it's not the government's business why a member of the public wants a record," said Pat Gleason, general counsel for the state's attorney general. "The desire of government to impose procedural roadblocks directly conflicts with a citizen's right of access."