Oakland County implements online FOIA requests

Oakland County continues to improve government transparency through the use of technology. The public and media will be able file freedom of information (FOIA) requests online beginning Tuesday, Dec. 8, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced. The easy-to-use software by GovQA will be accessible through the county’s website at OakGov.com/FOIA.

“Oakland County has an impeccable reputation for transparency and using technology to make records available on our website. Now we are taking it a step further,” Patterson said. “With a few clicks of the keyboard, anyone can file a freedom of information request with the county and track it.”

The portal will accept FOIA requests for all county executive departments, the Sheriff’s Office, the Clerk/Register of Deeds, and the Treasurer’s Office. Individuals who submit FOIA requests online will be able to track the progress of their requests. They also will be able to review others’ FOIA requests and responses to those requests.

“The software allows the county to track all FOIA requests and responses more effectively and efficiently,” Patterson said. “County departments can now collaborate in an easier fashion on FOIA requests that require the collection of public documents from several departments.”

Patterson, through the county’s Corporation Counsel and Information Technology Department, implemented online FOIA requests to improve accessibility to county government records and to ensure compliance with recent changes in FOIA laws.

“FOIA laws continue to evolve,” Oakland County Corporation Counsel Keith Lerminiaux said. “This software will help us be even more effective at tracking, responding to, and fulfilling the thousands of FOIA requests we receive every year.”

Oakland County receives more than 3,500 FOIA requests a year. Corporation Counsel is the designated FOIA coordinator for all county executive departments, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Clerk/Register of Deeds.

For those who do not have access to a computer or may not understand how to use technology, Oakland County will continue to accept FOIA requests by mail, fax, and email. The Prosecutor’s Office and the Water Resources Commissioner will continue to receive FOIA requests the traditional way.