Media organizations and public records advocates have settled a lawsuit filed two years ago against Pat McCrory when he was in the governor’s office.
The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and others that sued accused the McCrory administration of dragging its feet or not responding to requests for public records.
The coalition of media companies asked the court to order the former governor to find ways to ensure swifter delivery of public records.
After Gov. Roy Cooper unseated McCrory in November, the Democrat’s administration inherited the lawsuit filed against the Republican who preceded him.
According to the settlement filed on Tuesday, the state will pay $250,000 in attorneys’ fees to the coalition.
Cooper’s administration also has agreed to respond to records requests “as promptly as possible” and to reject a practice that McCrory’s staff had increasingly used in which agencies charged for the inspection of records by citing a provision in state law allowing for “special service charges” for requests that required extensive resources.
Under the settlement, Cooper’s administration agreed to develop new guidance for administrations to help them comply with public records laws, acknowledging that responding to requests comprises an “important and necessary function of government.”