It was learned today that the state of Michigan’s State Budget Office has changed the process by which community colleges and universities submit their annual 5-year capital outlay plans. This change may make it easier for architects and engineers to obtain these planning documents.
Prior to this year, all 43 public community colleges and universities had to submit hard copies of their plans to the Budget Office by December 1. Then each of these plans were sorted and stored in the Budget Office and copied for anyone interested in submitting a FOIA request. This was no doubt a burden on the Budget Office staff and copying the documents was expensive for us. Plus, we needed to either drive to Lansing to pick up the copies or have them shipped to our offices – an expense we may be able to avoid now.
According to Lisa Shoemaker, all higher education institutions now will be required to post their plans to their institution’s website. Where on their website is unclear. The Budget Office will then compile a list of hyperlinks that interested users will be able to access and then go to the individual plans. Users likely will be able to copy sections of those plans.
Much more efficient!
The one snag is that according to Shoemaker, the list may be a FOIA-able document. Why, we have no idea. After all, these are lists of public investments using state tax dollars and should be transparently available.
Shoemaker says the final list of hyperlinks may be compiled by the beginning of February 2012. We will wait until then to see how the new process unfolds.