All Justice employees to be rated on FOI responsiveness
WASHINGTON, D.C.–All Department of Justice employees who play any role in processing Freedom of Information Act requests will be rated on how responsive they are to FOI Act requests under an order issued in late August by Attorney General Janet Reno.
The order will apply to all Justice Department components, which include the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Marshals Service, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The FBI is now nearly four years behind in processing basic FOI Act requests, and no component of the department is in compliance with the requirements of the FOI Act that agencies grant or deny information within ten working days.
In a news release Reno said cooperation of Justice Department employees “is essential” to reducing backlogs, and that the actions of non-FOI personnel in transmitting, searching and retrieving requested information contribute significantly to delays.
Federal employees are graded on a series of performance rating standards related to their jobs. In the past, only Justice Department employees who worked full time in handling FOI Act requests were graded on their responsiveness.
Although the Reno instruction applies only to Justice Department employees, the department is the lead agency in implementing the FOI Act and other agencies may follow Justice’s example.