Some tips for citizens in pursuit of public information:
--Be specific about what information you need.
--Ask if you have come to the right place.
--Make your request courteously and remain patient.
--Even though you are not required by law to give your name, it can help. But do not answer questions that make you feel uncomfortable.
--If your initial request is refused, be persistent.
--Ask for a specific reason for the refusal and proof of any response that the information is not public. It helps to know the law and to bring a copy.
--Ask to see the person in charge.
--Try a different office or employee who might know more about the topic.
--Be prepared to make a written freedom of information request.
--Resources and an automatic Freedom of Information letter generator are available to citizens on the national Reporters Committee for Freedom of Information Web site at www.rcfp.org.
--The League of Women Voters of Minnesota offers citizen advice. Call (651) 224-5445 or see the league's Web site at www.lwvmn.org.
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