FOIL AO 19706


FROM:    Freeman, Robert J (DOS)
SENT:     Friday, January 18, 2019 12:25 PM
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Subject:  RE: FOIL Request Fees


I know of no written advisory opinion rendered by this office or judicial decision that considered whether “salary” includes, to use your example, the cost of health insurance, for the purpose of determining the fee to be charged in relation to a request made pursuant to FOIL. The reason for the absence of specific guidance, in my view, is because the answer is obvious. Cursory research indicates that “benefits” involve non-wage compensation provided to employees in addition to their normal wages or salaries. “Salary” is the amount per hour or per year that employees are paid for performing their job. Base salary does not include any bonuses, benefits or perks associated with the job.

In consideration of the common meanings of the terms “salary” and “benefits”, it is our opinion that fees that may be assessed in responding to a FOIL request cannot include the cost of benefits.

Best of the new year to all.
Bob Freeman