Government officials across the East Valley routinely say no — or not now — when residents request access to public information, a statewide investigation suggests.
About one in four agencies across Arizona refused to hand over public records within one week when journalists visited their offices as regular citizens.
When one journalist asked for information on Tempe City Manager Will Manley’s use of a taxpayer-funded credit card, the city staff went to work quickly.
But not on finding the requested information. Instead, they launched an investigation into the background of the person making the request.
Manley called the journalist’s home and then his cell phone within an hour, asking: Who are you, who do you work for, and why do you want to see my expense report?
Several days later, Tempe City Hall turned over the records.
Many other government offices never provided access to information that Arizona’s Public Records Law guarantees shall be available promptly to "any person" who asks.