Who uses FOIA? Journalists, lawyers, vendors and ‘the average Joe’ – Daily Press

If you respond to Freedom of Information Act requests in York County, you know who Robert Holloway is.

The county resident has asked for so much information, it’s hard for Gail Whittaker, the county’s spokeswoman and FOIA officer, to narrow it down. A sampling of his requests includes emails between local officials, contracts, city-commissioned studies and how EPA standards are being addressed at the Yorktown Crescent housing development.

Holloway accounted for more than 100 of the 124 requests that Whittaker received from January 2016 through this March. But he is the rare exception among FOIA requesters in the Peninsula’s counties and cities.

Besides public meetings, Virginia’s FOIA might be a person’s most significant legal right in seeing how a city or county operates. It’s the law that allows anyone to ask for records related to government bodies — accident reports, contracts, site plans, emails and salary databases, to name a few.


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