Which NY Agencies Are the Worst at Responding to Freedom of Information Requests?


The NYPD and New York City Housing Authority are some of the worst offenders when it comes to disclosing information to the public, according to a new report put out by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Between January and March of 2011, New York City agencies received 9,970 requests for information–a line of inquiry that’s supposed to be ensured by the Freedom of Information Law, enacted in 1974. But according to the Public Advocate’s analysis, 40 percent of city agencies didn’t even have directions on their website on how to submit them. And of the requests that went through, one in 10 were ignored or lost. The NYPD had the largest number of missing FOILs (577), while NYCHA failed to process 29 percent of its requests. Of the FOILs that NYCHA did address, 51 percent of them took more than 60 days to receive a response.

While the NYPD and NYCHA made failing grades, the report also highlighted the issue of “non-determination,” lack of a “yes” or “no” response to an information request altogether. The NYPD, Department of Correction, and Department of Design and Construction had the highest rates of non-determination, all of which “undermines the spirit of the Freedom of Information Law,” according to the report.

The Department of Transportation, however, made high marks for transparency. While the DOT received 1,655 FOIL requests in the first quarter of 2011, 99 percent of all queries were answered, and 95 percent of them in a timely fashion.

Check out the full graveyard of lost and ignored information requests below.