Friday, January 27, 2017

Is the Kriseman Administration hiding behind the Public Records Statute?

I resubmitted the request with Kriseman, King, Kirby, Logan and Tankersly removed the remaining information was provided at no cost.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

Section 119.07(4), Florida Statutes, provides for fees and charges for processing public records requests.  Extensive use of information technology resources and extensive clerical or supervisory assistance will require payment of a special service charge for the use of such information technology resources and labor cost of personnel to process the request.  A cost estimate will be provided to you should copy fees or special service charges be assessed.  These costs must be paid prior to record retrieval and production.  Please direct any questions to the Office of the City Clerk.

Recently I filed a Public records request for Ben Kirby's, Kriseman Communications Director, internal and external e-mails to and from these individuals: Rick Kriseman, Kevin King, Bill Logan, Claude Tankersly, Campaign Partner.com, Tom@BlueTicketConsulting.com, Tom Alte, Megan Salisbury, Vito Sheely, Mike Fox, Wanda Schwerer, Rick Boylan, Brittany Barefoot, Ben Diamond, mitymo.com, Mo Eppley

The response from the Kriseman Administration:

 Ben Kirby: Review and Redact 613 email items with the key word search (Rick Kriseman, Kevin King, Bill Logan, Claude Tankersly, Campaignpartner.com, Tom@Blueticketconsulting.com, Tom Alte, Megan Salisbury, Vito Sheely, Mike Fox, Wanda Schwerer, Rick Boylan, Brittany Barefoot, Ben Diamond, mitymo.com, Mo Eppley)
Hours 4.5
Rate: 65.41/hr
Total Cost: $294.34

The technology (search) portion of the request is done since they indicate in their response there are 613 emails represented in this Public Records Request.

Note that the Statute allows charges for extensive use of information technology and extensive use of clerical or supervisory assistance. Four and a half hours hardly seems extensive.

The first four names, Rick Kriseman, Kevin King, Bill Logan, and Claude Tankersly are all members of the Kriseman administration. The remaining names are those associated or possibly associated with the Kriseman reelection campaign.

The issue of redaction, as indicated in the response, is troubling at best.

 If the redaction is provided through the Legal Department that is one thing but if, Kirby and King are going to go through the e-mails and "redact" them how are we to trust the public records request process.

I resubmitted the request with Kriseman, King, Kirby, Logan and Tankersly removed the remaining information was provided at no cost.

As long as Kriseman keeps, his two political operatives on the City payroll there will be questions about campaign activities on City time. Kriseman is subtly reneging on his claims of transparency by using or misusing the Public Records Statute.

It will be tough to convince anyone to run against the incumbent Mayor if the Kriseman Campaign operates from City Hall.

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