Atlanta mayor blocks transparency with release of millions of paper documents

In a novel move to stymie inquiry, Atlanta Mayor Kassim Reed released 1.476 million documents related to FBI investigations into alleged bribes for city contracts. Reed and the city attorney claimed that the release was a boon to transparency. Reed said he produced the documents in paper form to expedite the release and said he planned to make the documents available in electronic form but did not say when. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 9, 2017, by Leon Stafford)

Transparency experts say the release most likely sets a record for the release of local government records. Alex Howard of the Sunlight Foundation said it should have been a routine matter to release the records in digital form and make the necessary redactions. Failure to do so means the city is not using readily available software. One reporter claimed that in examining the documents, he “felt like a monkey playing the accordian.” (Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2017, by Timothy Pratt)