A second, full-time job...Pt. 2

I posted yesterday about the City Clerk's response to our recent attempts to obtain records. I responded to her late yesterday afternoon. (In fairness to her, since this went out so late I don't anticipate any response until next week.)

Hi Peggy,

Thank you for your response to our inquiries. I am afraid that I am going to decline your invitation to come and look through your files again. I have been over there several times now to go through certain portions of the City's files to which I have been allowed access. While I appreciate your efforts to ensure that I have access to public records, I frankly am not sure that your inclination toward public disclosure is shared by all members of the City's staff. For example, I have been told at various times that email correspondence does not exist, that it is in separately maintained files, that it was destroyed, or that I have it already. It would be an understatement to claim that I am skeptical of assertions that a project of this magnitude lends itself to only one or two items of correspondence in a month's time.

The documents I have asked for this time are required by law to be produced and maintained by any municipal utility. According to the City Codes, these documents are to be available at your office during regular business hours. The fact that neither you nor members of your staff nor the administrative assistant for Electric City Power seem to have any idea what these documents are leads me to surmise that they do not, in fact, exist. If this is the case, I can see no reason to participate in what can only be considered a charade, while I waste my time digging through voluminous records so that your colleagues can defend themselves by claiming I have been given access to everything.

If the documents do not exist, it seems to me a simple matter to simply state that fact for the record. If the documents do exist, they can and should be produced immediately without avoidance or dissembling. I would have been happy to have requested these apparently non-existent documents directly from the utility but,
as you know, I have been instructed to communicate with your office on document requests.

If my tone seems somewhat harsh, I apologize. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to assist me with my efforts to obtain public records, efforts that began on December 11, 2006. Please let me know if the documents exist and, if they do, when I can pick them up. I trust I can pay you the $10.75 I owe you for the previous production when I do.

Thank you again.

I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have been quite magnanimous in your comments toward her. And you are right, the legal documentation required by law exists or it does not.

1) Enron-like-record keeping is not a Montana value.

2) Competent record keeping is the duty of City Bureaucrats using taxpayer dollars in any business scheme.