ITPI Requests All Communications on Privatizing Detroit’s Public Services; City Has Five Days to Respond to FOIA Request

Washington, DC – Late yesterday, In the Public Interest (ITPI) filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all correspondence relating to the contracting of Detroit’s public services from December of last year until now. The request comes on the heels of emails showing Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr was focused on taking Detroit into bankruptcy from the start and the news that the process for privatizing the city’s residential solid waste and recycling services has already begun.

The City has five days to respond with all emails, faxes, letters, proposals and other relevant communications between city and state officials and corporate executives who stand to make billions by taking over public services, including any solicited or unsolicited bids for these services.

Donald Cohen, Executive Director of In the Public Interest, released the following statement:

“Taxpayers deserve to know whether Governor Snyder and unelected Detroit City Manager Kevyn Orr are using bankruptcy as a convenient excuse to hand over control of local services to Wall Street banks and corporations that will put profit before public health, safety and local oversight. We call on Detroit officials to fulfill this request as a demonstration of their commitment to accountability and transparency.”

Text of FOIA request:

Dear Sir or Madam;

Per the Michigan Freedom of Information Act § 15.231 et seq., I am requesting the following information for the period of December 2012 to present:

Any and all writings, as defined by § 15.231 et seq., and correspondence, including but not limited to, emails, faxes, letters, proposals and or other germane and relevant documents pertaining to the contracting of current city services. Please also include:

1. All bids, solicited and unsolicited, for the contracting of any city service

2. All written matters and materials, as defined by § 15.231 et seq., between private companies and any public official, including the appointed Emergency Manager, seeking to contract with the city to provide services, or operate assets and or city facilities.

3. Documents and public records pertaining to the recent issuance of the RFP (RFP #45521) for the “Collection of Residential Solid Waste, Recycling, and Disposal with Optional Snow Removal.”

If you refuse to provide this information, please advise me in writing and indicate the applicable exemption to the Public Records Act. Also, please state with particularity the reasons for your decision. If the exemption you are claiming only applies to a portion of the records, please delete that portion and provide photocopies of the remainder of the records. If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act and provide the name and title or position of the person responsible for the denial.

Disclosure of this information is in the public interest because providing a copy of the information primarily benefits the general public. I therefore request a waiver of all fees and charges pursuant to Section 15.234 of the act.

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act requires a response to this request within five days. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than this amount of time, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.

Finally, I request that you submit a notice of receipt to alara@inthepublicinterest.org. Should you have any questions regarding this request, please do not hesitate to contact me at the information provided below.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.