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Linda Uhl "firstname.lastname@example.org"; "sam@mainepolicy. org"; Dale McCormick; John Bobrowiecki; FOAA request Thursday, August 04, 2011 5:32:34 PM
David and Sam:
I am Chief Counsel at MaineHousing. John Bobrowiecki is out of the office until August 15th.
I am following up on Maine Heritage Policy Center's (MHPC) FOAA request. MaineHousing has not heard from MHPC since our Chair, Carol Kontos, notified David Crocker by letter dated June 27th that the Commissioners voted not to waive the fees set by law. MaineHousing has previously suggested ways to reduce the estimated cost by refining the detailed nature of your request. The estimated time to provide all the information, as outlined in the twenty data points requested in your initial email, has already been established. I am reaching out to remind you there are less labor intensive alternatives.
In the time since we shared our estimate with you and offered to work with you to refine your request we have learned that both the Maine Health and Higher Educational Facilities Authority and the Maine Turnpike Authority released what was readily available rather than taking the time to compile the detail requested. We want to reiterate that MaineHousing would be happy to share data that fits within whatever amount MHPC would like to spend on this request. Since you have not attempted to refine your request, we thought we would give you an example in each of the three areas where you requested data.
Most of the time required to respond to the payroll request is gathering the 12 data points you requested for each employee. Allocating each benefit by employee, for example, is time consuming as MaineHousing pays benefit premiums in aggregate. Salaries and the average percentage of benefits would be more accessible.
Another example is with our operating expenses. Compiling the eight specific data points you requested regarding vendors will take the time previously estimated. However a listing of all the vendors in MaineHousing's system or a list of vendors and payments by year would be a simpler and easier way to accomplish a similar end result.
For program expenditures, gross transfers to direct providers rather than clientlevel transactions would show expenditures without showing transactions with protected personal information, the crossing out of which is by far the most timeconsuming piece of the request.
As we have noted previously, more recent data is easier because of technology. Our initial estimate addresses the broad nature of your request and is a major undertaking for a $1.6B agency that serves over 90,000 households each year through about 70,000 transactions. We estimate that your request for 13 years would involve approximately 800,000 transactions. We believe that with a little effort, your request could be refined to reduce the overall costs. One way to do this is to narrow the data requested and another is to reduce the number of years requested.
We welcome hearing from you. You may contact me or, from August 15th, John Bobrowiecki.
Linda Uhl Chief Counsel Maine State Housing Authority 353 Water Street Augusta, ME 04330-4633 207-626-4656