Aftermath of FOIL Request re Batch Plant Mishap

Today The New York Times published an article about Governor Cuomo’s ruling on information requests. Very interesting indeed.

* * * * *

This time last year I submitted a Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL) request asking for information about the week prior to the concrete batch plant’s collapse. Each time I asked when said information will be forthcoming, the office told me:

“Based on the continued review, and with due regard for POL § 89(3)(a), staff anticipates providing a response to your request on (date).”

The reply to my recent email (August 7, 2015) said I can expect a response on September 28, 2015 . . . that will tell me when to expect the next response.

* * * * *

Here’s how it went down.

By September I was stuck in the equivalent of voice mail hell and was never going to get an answer, let alone a straight answer, from the Public Information Officer. I sought help from several sources, which advised me to appeal the delay to the Thruway Authority.

Within the allotted 10 days I received five interoffice emails that were red alerts among project officials and assurances that no one was hurt.

I replied, the attorney responded, and then I received a call from one of the governor’s advisors not long after about “tidying up” matters. Someone wanted me to stop asking, I’m sure. It took nearly a full year for someone to tell me “the Thruway Authority doesn’t have that kind of information in its records.”

Really?

How can the Thruway Authority claim to know nothing about the batch plants for the country’s most tightly overseen project? It sidestepped the issue and told me to contact Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC.

If there was nothing wrong with the second batch plant, then why were both shut down? Were the barges supporting them not strong enough to hold their weight in rough weather?

Would it have been a matter of time before an identical malfunction occurred in that second batch plant so TZC took precautions if both were prepped, inspected and tested identically?

Ask away until the questions get too close.

Why wouldn’t the Thruway Authority want to know? Then again, maybe it does.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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