The City of San Diego used to have a performance measure for its handling of public records requests.
The Human Resources Department, which processes such inquiries, listed “percent of public records act requests completed within mandated timeline” as a key performance indicator in city budgets.
In 2013, about 75 percent were completed in the required 10 days. The measure increased to 84 percent in 2014 and 85 percent in 2015.
The figure has not been updated more recently. Measurement of progress on this metric halted earlier this year, when the city rolled out “NextRequest,” an online portal for residents to request city government documents. The new online tool was touted as part of a transparency push.
The online records portal is powered by a San Francisco-based vendor of the same name, at a cost to the city of $22,400 per year.
The software allows city officials to track progress toward fulfilling requests by checking an administrative screen, which they do. It also allows for more in-depth monthly reports, which city officials are not using.
Officials said they are not using such reports yet to monitor or track progress toward any performance metrics, although they plan to in the future.
Because records of the requests are now in a database controlled by a vendor, public access to the requests themselves has declined.
U-T Watchdog asked early this year for a log of records requests as part of a region-wide effort to…
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