The Public Information Act Compliance Board reviews and resolves complaints related to disputes that arise under the Public Information Act (PIA). The Board was created by legislation enacted in 2015, and originally the Board had jurisdiction to review only complaints that a custodian had charged an unreasonable fee higher than $350 for public records. However, a law passed in 2021 expanded the Board's jurisdiction. That law, which became effective on July 1, 2022, allows the Board to review and resolve complaints that:
A custodian wrongfully denied inspection of public records;
A custodian charged an unreasonable fee higher than $350 for public records;
A custodian failed to respond to a request for public records; and
A PIA applicant's request is “frivolous, vexatious, or in bad faith."
Before filing a complaint, you must first attempt to resolve your dispute through the Public Access Ombudsman. Typically, the Ombudsman tries to resolve disputes via a confidential mediation process. At the conclusion of the mediation, the Ombudsman will issue a final determination that states that the dispute was either resolved, not resolved, or partially resolved. For disputes that remain unresolved after mediation, an applicant (i.e., a PIA requester) or custodian may file a complaint with the Board within 30 days after receiving the Ombudsman's final determination.
The Board is an independent State entity and its members serve as volunteers. All five members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Although the Board is not a part of the Office of the Attorney General, this Office provides the Board with administrative staff and legal counsel, and also publishes the Board's decisions, meeting notices, and other material on the Office's website. The Board has no office or budget of its own.
John H. West, III, Esq., Chair
Christopher A. Eddings
Deborah F. Moore-Carter
Michele L. Cohen, Esq.
Darren S. Wigfield
Sara Klemm, Assistant Attorney General, Counsel
S. Spencer Dove, Administrator
No meeting is scheduled at this time.
Public Information Act Compliance Boardc/o Office of the Attorney General200 St. Paul PlaceBaltimore, Maryland 21202
Public Information Act Compliance Board
c/o Office of the Attorney General
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
By phone: (410) 576-6560 By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / En español 410-230-1712 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TTY: Dial 7-1-1 or 800-735-2258