ABC will not charge for copies after all
The Rowan-Kannapolis ABC Board has changed its stance on providing public records to the county.
The board has agreed to provide copies of public documents as soon as possible and at no charge to the county. Last week, ABC officials said each copy would cost the county 7 cents and the fee had to be paid in advance.
In an e-mail sent to the county shortly before noon today, Marny Hendrick, chairman of the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC Board, wrote that while the ABC board members felt the charge was justified, it “was ill advised especially if it involves taxpayer money. Accordingly all fees for copies are waived and I apologize for making the request in the first place.”
Hendrick wrote that some records would be turned over to the county today.
The change in stance came in a squabble with the Rowan County Board of Commissioners over records and questions about the failure of the ABC system to generate revenue.
On Friday, County Attorney Jay Dees had reviewed Hendrick’s letter denying the county’s requests for several documents, pointing out that they don’t exist or the request was not sufficiently specific.
Commissioner Tina Hall had requested travel and expense reports and or requests for reimbursement together with all supporting information substantiating the requests for the past five years for employees and staff. She asked for the information to include: Travel destination/purpose for travel, total cost, copies of pertinent credit card receipts, and asked for the total costs including payments by check, credit card or cash reimbursement.
Hendrick denied the request in e-mail sent June 9 writing: “Denied =… not a valid request it requires compilation of data and summary information that does not currently exist. … This request needs to be resubmitted to list each specific public document you require by type and approximate date.”
Early today, the county e-mailed ABC officials with Dees’ response to the ABC position on the records:
Referring to the request for expenses denied by Hendrick, Dees wrote: “This request contains specific references to specific documents: reimbursement requests and supporting documentation, including receipts. This much should be provided without question. This would include the actual request for reimbursement form and support receipts specifically requested.”
Dees also questioned charging the county for such documents, adding, “The easy answer to pay the charge to avoid further delay in providing the records.”