Bridgewater State University is asking The Enterprise for more than $60,000 to provide public records connected to the school’s Children’s Center day care, the site of two alleged child rapes by a BSU student. In reporting on the matter, The Enterprise emailed a public records request April 22 seeking emails from and between the parties connected to the day care center. The request covered the period from March 1 through April 22.
On Thursday, the school said it would comply with the request and release “an aggregate of 21,024 emails during that period for the named individuals,” but only if the newspaper agreed to pay $8,409.60 in copying charges and an additional $51,889.55 in labor costs.
Prince Lobel media attorney Rob Bertsche, an expert in the First Amendment and public records laws, said regulations permit the charging of fees for time spent searching, segregating and redacting documents.“But the amount cannot exceed the prorated hourly wage of the lowest paid employee capable of performing the task,” he said. “It appears that the pro-rated wages being estimated to you – ranging from $28 an hour to $88 an hour – far exceed that amount.”
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