Another example of Metro's "transparency"

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Tom Bazan sent out a heads up today about an easy open records request he has made of METRO that is inexplicably being dragged out.

You’ll recall last week’s news that the Texas Medical Center was still looking into how the Main Street Rail Line’s stray current was impacting its buildings. The Chronicle story explained that METRO President Frank J. Wilson has been authorized to “execute a tolling agreement”:

The Metropolitan Transit Authority board has approved plans to negotiate with the Texas Medical Center to extend the time that it can sue Metro over “stray” electrical current leaking from the light rail tracks.

The item was described on Metro’s monthly board agenda Thursday as authorizing President and CEO Frank Wilson to “execute a tolling agreement,” causing some observers to think it was about planned high occupancy-toll lanes on the Katy Freeway.

Instead, as Medical Center President and CEO Richard Wainerdi explained, a tolling agreement “extends the time in which a party has a right to any kind of remedy or action” to recover damages in court.

“In this case, the law is two years,” he said.

Tom requested a copy of the “tolling agreement.” Today METRO replied:

Type of Request:
Requesting the tolling agreement between METRO and the Texas Medical Center.

The Legal Department at METRO has received the above-referenced request. Please be advised that the requested records are in the process of being located. METRO has up to 10 business days to notify you of one (or more) of the below-referenced actions:

a)the requested records have been compiled and can be made available for inspection and/or copying;
b)additional time is needed in order to compile the requested records;
c)the cost to make the records available will be more than $40;
d) that METRO is requesting an Attorney General opinion with regard to your request;
e)that NO records were located.
You will receive a letter notifying you of one of the above-referenced actions (post-dated) by no later than:

Jacqueline Maldonado, Paralegal

As Tom notes in his email, the tolling agreement was discussed in a board meeting just last week, and there’s a local news story about the agreement. And yet, the records “are in the process of being located.” How hard could it possibly be to locate a copy of the tolling agreement that was just the subject of a Chronicle story AND was the subject of a board meeting discussion?

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.