University at Buffalo Local Food Vendors

Robert Galbraith filed this request with the State University of New York at Buffalo of New York.
Tracking # 16-046
Due April 27, 2016
Est. Completion June 24, 2016
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Robert Galbraith

To Whom It May Concern:

Under the provisions of the New York Freedom of Information Law, Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, I hereby request a copy of all records or portions thereof pertaining to, or containing the following:

Amount of money spent with local food vendors listed on UB's "Sustainable Foods" web page (https://myubcard.com/sustain/food) from 2011 through the present, broken out by vendor, including, but not limited to, amounts spent with: Great Lakes Cheese, Perry's Ice Cream, Johnston Paper, Barilla, Niagara Fresh Fruits, Boulevard Produce, Upstate Farms, Galbani/Sorrento, US Foods Service, McCullagh Coffee, Desiderio Produce, Pepsi Co., Battistoni, General Mills, Wardynski's Meats, Rich's, Rosina Foods, Al Cohen's Bakery, Costanzo's Bakery, Empire Cheese, The Basket Co., Frito-Lay, Chobani Yogurt, NY Malted Waffle, Midstate Bakery, Regional Distributors, Kreher's Farm, Eden Valley Growers, Piedmonte Farms, Freatman Farms, Robinson Farms, Dobbins Orchards, Bowman Farms and Goodman Farms.

I understand that there is a fee of $0.25 per page for duplication of the records requested; however, this request is a matter of public concern and is not being made for commercial usage. As such, I request that any fees associated with providing requested records be waived. I also request that documents be provided in electronic format if at all possible. Doing so would eliminate the need to copy the materials and provides another basis for my requested fee waiver.

If, however, such a waiver is denied, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request.

As you know, the Freedom of Information Law requires that an agency respond to a request within five (5) business days of receipt of such request. Therefore, I would appreciate a response as soon as possible.

If you determine that some but not all of the information is exempt from disclosure and that you intend to withhold it, I ask that you redact it for the time being and make the rest available as requested. In any event, please provide a notification citing the legal authorities on which you rely if you determine that any or all of the information is exempt and will not be disclosed.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter; I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Sincerely,

Robert Galbraith

From: Hines, Brian

Mr. Galbraith,

Please be advised that I am in receipt of your Freedom of Information Law (F.O.I.L.) request dated April 20, 2016.

I am currently determining the availability and accessibility of the requested document(s) and I expect to be in further contact with you within twenty business days. If you wish to make further inquiry regarding this particular FOIL request, please reference File Number 16-046.

Sincerely,

Brian T. Hines
Records Access Officer
University at Buffalo
120 Crofts Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260

From: Hines, Brian

Mr. Galbraith,

I am currently determining if the University holds any responsive records. I will be in contact with you within the next 14 days.

Brian T. Hines
Records Access Officer
University at Buffalo
120 Crofts Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
716-645-5464

From: Hines, Brian

Mr. Galbraith,

We are unable to respond to your Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request within twenty (20) business days from our last letter dated April 21, 2016 because of the difficulty in retrieving the documents that may be responsive to your request.

It is anticipated that those records that you have requested that are disclosable under FOIL will be provided to you on or before June 24, 2016.

Sincerely,

Brian T. Hines
Records Management Officer
University at Buffalo
420 Crofts Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260

From: Robert Galbraith

Mr. Hines:

This is patently ridiculous.

Campus Dining and Shops presumably had ready enough access to the contracting information when it built a website asserting a specific number ($3.9 million) was spent with local vendors. There is no reason it should take this long to provide the sources backing up that assertion.

Your office consistently flouts the freedom of information law in both spirit and letter, relying on the knowledge that requesters often lack the financial resources to file the lawsuits necessary to force you to act.

The complete absence of respect for transparency and accountability to the people of New York State exhibited by UB is unacceptable.

I am filing an appeal with SUNY.

Sincerely,

Robert Galbraith
Public Accountability Initiative

From: Hines, Brian

Mr. Galbraith,

This is in response to your Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request dated May 6, 2016. The State University of New York at Buffalo has no documents responsive to your request. The information and records you requested are not in the possession of the State University of New York at Buffalo. Your request should be redirected to the Faculty-Student Association (FSA), which is a separate not-for-profit corporation which contracts with SUNY to provide food service, bookstore and similar services at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Information requests pertaining to the FSA should be addressed to Jeff Brady, Executive Director of FSA. His address is 146 Fargo Quad, Buffalo, NY 14261.

If you wish to appeal any part of this decision, you must do so in writing within thirty (30) days of your receipt of this email. The appeal must be directed to: FOIL Appeals Officer, Kellie Dupuis, Associate Counsel, Office of University Counsel, SUNY Plaza, Albany, NY 12246.

Sincerely,

Brian T. Hines
Records Access Officer
University at Buffalo
120 Crofts Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260

From: Robert Galbraith

Mr. Hines,

This is totally outrageous. Why on earth would it take you more than two months to determine that you were going to refuse to respond to my FOIL request?

Please provide an email address for the Faculty Student Association. As you are aware, agencies are required to accept FOIL requests electronically.

Robert Galbraith

From: Hines, Brian

Mr. Galbraith,

Mr. Brady's email is jjbrady@buffalo.edu<mailto:jjbrady@buffalo.edu>. The Faculty Student Association is not subject to Freedom of Information Law but you can send your requests for information to Mr. Brady.

Brian T. Hines
Records Access Officer
University at Buffalo
120 Crofts Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

The attached public records request is being forwarded to your office for processing. Confirmation of receipt and an estimated date of completion would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

From: Kohl, Raymond

Mr. Robert Galbraith,

The University at Buffalo Faculty Student Association does not maintain documentation which specifically tracks spending with local vendors and compilation of that information would take considerable staff effort. As you know, under FOIL, agencies are not required and not obligated to produce documents that do not otherwise exist, or answer questions requiring assemblage or summarization of information. The $3.9 million figure that was on our website is an estimate prepared by staff based on general knowledge of our vendor base.
Regards,

Raymond Kohl, Marketing Manager
Campus Dining & Shops
University at Buffalo
146 Fargo Quad
Buffalo, NY 14261
(716) 645-2308
fax (716) 645-3990
rjkohl@buffalo.edu<mailto:rjkohl@buffalo.edu>

From: Robert Galbraith

Mr. Kohl,

When I submitted the FOIL request to Jeff Brady for this information, he accidentally sent an email to me indicating that UB FSA is, in fact, in possession of this information. If UB FSA does not wish to tabulate the amount spent with each vendor in the time period requested, you may satisfy my request by providing contracts with the specified vendors.

Thank you,

Robert Galbraith

Files