WARREN, Mich. — The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit against the city of Warren for failure to comply with Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act. The public records request, pertaining to the names and salaries of city employees, was denied.
On Jan. 7, 2021, the Mackinac Center submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the city of Warren. In the FOIA request, the Center asked for the salary information for every city employee in 2019 and 2020. Jan. 29, Warren responded to the request with estimated costs but did not provide a time frame for how long it would take to produce the records according to https://www.mackinac.org/CityofWarrenFOIA.
On Feb. 2, the city released the requested salary information, but omitted the names of the employees. The city claimed the names of employees were exempt from disclosure but did not cite a reason for such an exemption, which is required by law Mackinac reports.
“The city’s failure to provide this information demonstrates a disregard for public transparency,” said Steve Delie, the Mackinac Center’s lead expert on transparency and open government. “The names and salaries of public employees have been clearly established as nonexempt information. It is essential that the public be able to track how its tax dollars are being spent.”
This is the fifth lawsuit filed by the Center in recent months related to violations of Michigan’s public records laws, all of which are ongoing. More information about this lawsuit and others can be found here.