Ludington City Council denies FOIA request

February 15, 2019

The Ludington City Council on Monday affirmed the response of the city’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) coordinator, Carlos Alvarado, in regard to resident Tom Rotta’s FOIA request for documents related to Ludington’s city manager search.

Rotta requested to view correspondence documents between city officials and the city manager search facilitator, Jeff Mueller of the Michigan Municipal League (MML), but the city denied his request as a moot point because those documents are already available on the city’s website to Rotta and the public.

Rotta also requested to see the 37 applications for city manager because he claimed the applications were wrongfully deliberated upon in closed session, since not all of the three finalist applications that have been made public show confidentiality requested in writing.

Michigan’s Open Meetings Act does permit public bodies to review employment applications in closed session if the candidates under review requested confidentiality.

The council held a two-hour closed session on Jan. 10 to review the candidates and select the three finalists.

The MML narrowed the pool of candidates down to the top 10 who fit the qualities the council was looking for, and Mueller provided summaries of those candidates to the councilors to review during the closed session. The applications of the other candidates remained in Mueller’s briefcase during the meeting and were not viewed by the council, according to City Attorney Richard Wilson.

“The MML indicated to us that everybody we were going to look at had requested confidentiality,” Wilson said. “I would also point out the Open Meetings Act does not require the request for confidentiality be in writing.”

To read the full story, check out the print or E-edition of Friday’s Ludington Daily News.