On DCS’ Bill to Media for $55,884

Gov. Bill Haslam is defending the $55,884 bill to media for copies of records from the Department of Children’s Services, reports Chas Sisk.
(Haslam said he) was not aware of the tab for records, which was tallied after a judge ruled that the records had to be made public, until it was printed in the newspaper.
But Haslam said the sum was not meant to discourage news organizations from obtaining the records. He said line items — such as $500 for whiteout, nearly 1,800 labor hours to review the records and more than 14,000 miles to transport records around the state — did not seem extraordinary given that the records are scattered in various DCS offices.
“I’ll be glad to pay the $500 if Gannett is struggling,” Haslam quipped, referring to the parent company of The Tennessean, which led the public records lawsuit.
“We did what the judge asked us to do. The judge said tell them what it would cost. We did exactly what the judge said.”

Meanwhile, Jack McElroy gives some perspective on the bill.
Among the expenses is the cost of hand-delivering each file from local offices to regional offices then to state headquarters at the rate of $0.47 per mile, so the files can be copied in Nashville. The original files then will be hand-delivered back to the offices where they originated. The total mileage is estimated at 7,102 miles, and, of course, employees will have to accompany the files earning $16.39 an hour on those long drives.
In Nashville, the relevant portions of the files will be extracted and photocopied, then those portions will be redacted using white-out tape. which “unfortunately, can be easily removed,” so the files will have to be copied again. The redaction will take 600 rolls of white-out tape, by the way, at the cost of $0.86/roll.
In all, the state estimates it will take 1,798.5 hours of state labor to provide the public with copies of the 200 summary files, about nine hours per file. The total “good faith” estimate of the cost to the media of the project is $55,884.55.
I guess if more children die, the cost will go up.

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