A new school year brings a new wave of contracts, leaving contract administrators and procurement professionals juggling hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of contracts annually. This sheer volume of contracts brings tough challenges for community colleges such as lost contracts, lack of version tracking, and minimal visibility.
This post was originally published 3/10/17. Updated 6/5/18.
Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has been providing the public with the right to request access to contract records and data from any Federal Agency. At the end of the 1950’s, the press and the public were consistently being denied information they sought out. The act was eleven years in the making after countless arguments on whether it was even necessary to begin with. After reluctance from President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Freedom of Information Act was signed into action and FOIA requests became a right for every citizen.
FOIA does not mean that all information requested is approved. All organizations, including public agencies such as cities, counties, municipalities, and state colleges and universities, who fall under the act have the right not to disclose information with good reason, such as if it falls under the nine exemptions. Particular information that is protected consists of any information regarding national security, law enforcement, and personal privacy.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is great if you don’t work in government and believe that, as a citizen, you should be entitled to knowledge of your government’s actions. On the other hand, if you are a government contract administrator, complying with FOIA can be a time consuming process. Especially if you are responsible for tracking the seemingly never ending supply of public records or determining if a contract record is, or is not, exempt to FOIA.