Search and Categories

Here’s The Scoop … MCINTEE DELETIONS WON’T MAKE IT GO AWAY….

September 4, 2009 by Barbara

THE COOKIES ARE IN…. VICE MAYOR …

Dear Readers… In past posts I have addressed the e-mail requests made by resident Yann Brandt to Vice Mayor McIntee which led to VM McIntee requests for e-mails from Commissioner Dodd and Mayor Minnet…. A quick recap…Mr. Brandt sent an e-mail to the Commissioners after the termination of BSO Chief Scott Gooding in June…He received an e-mail (see below) from Vice Mayor McIntee from his personal AOL account (as shown)…Mr. Brandt then made a Public Records Request (PRR) for e-mails for the period June 1st to June 29, 2009….and after a long wait (beyond reasonable, per statute) he received incomplete production of his request….He again made a PPR to request all personal e-mails from the Vice Mayor that were “Town related business”….due to the e-mail he received showing the Vice Mayor had indeed used his personal AOL account to respond… Again he waited for a response in a “reasonable amount of time” per the state statute…He was advised in an e-mail from the Town Clerk that the Vice Mayor was out of town and would not be back until  September 4, 2009….On August 21, 2009 Mr. Brandt sent an e-mail to the Town to ask  for the requested e-mails after seeing the Vice Mayor was back in town …Town Clerk White  responded on August 24,2009 …(see below)…that the Vice Mayor had been notified of the request for the e-mails, that the Town Clerk was not in possession of them and did not have access to them….On September 3, 2009 Mr. Brandt received a copy of a letter to the Town Clerk from the Vice Mayor dated August 30, 2009 (see below)…stating he could “provide NO e-mails for the period in question June 1st to the 29th”…that “emails are not saved by AOL who handles all my email accounts. I do not keep any emails in my personal computer. The June dates requested by Mr Brandt are not accessible to me. Very Truly, Vice Mayor Jerome McIntee”…

According to the Florida statutes…Vice Mayor McIntee…is the “custodian” of the public records (see below)…and the only way he does not “keep” e-mails in his personal computer is to “delete” them which he has been instructed per Florida Sunshine Law is not allowed…A look at a recent case in the City of Venice shows…the Vice Mayor could be in for a whole load of trouble…(see below)….Mr Brandt has made further inquiry to the Town about the e-mails and this post will be forwarded to those who took on the case in Venice…as well as being “tagged” on the internet…The item of e-mails is also on the Sept. 9, 2009 agenda …under New Business by Comm. Dodd in order to address the Vice Mayor’s request for his and the Mayor’s personal computer e-mails…So, you have to wonder …just when did the Vice Mayor deleted his AOL e-mails?…Before or after the request made by Mr. Brandt (Mr Brandt received his e-mail from the Vice Mayor’s AOL account 6/28/09)?… And before or after his own request from his opponents on the dais?…YIKES!…

WANT TO TAKE A STAND FOR TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT?…. KEEP MCINTEE ACCOUNTABLE?….

DEAR READERS…check your e-mails…did you send and receive an e-mail from Vice Mayor McIntee from his AOL personal account?…If so please forward them to [email protected]…or use the comments below… It will help in keeping government transparent and thus calling the Vice Mayor out on his actions to thwart the process!…

THE MCINTEE E-MAIL….

On Sun, Jun 28, 2009 at 5:56 PM, wrote:

The police department surrounded the VFD station with no notice and locked all the doors and took all the equipment, shutting the VFD down completely.. The situation with the Chief is not anywhere near this type of action. The Sheriff has the situation under control the department is covered by supervisors and no one is in any jeopardy in out town. I support the actions of the Town Manager and have faith in her actions. VM McIntee

THE TOWN CLERK LETTER….AUG. 24,2009….

24 y. brandt letter to town mc-emails

THE MCINTEE LETTER TO TOWN CLERK…AUG.30, 2009….

09 mc-letter no emails

THE MARCH 2009 “HISTORIC” PUBLIC RECORDS CASE….

‘City of Venice Agrees to Settle Sunshine Case – Public’s Right to Know Vindicated

03/10/2009

14744866.2 Citizens for Sunshine, Inc.
200 S. Washington Blvd., Suite 5
Sarasota, FL 34236
[email protected]

CONTACT: Andrea Flynn Mogensen, Attorney (941) 955-1066 or [email protected] or Matthew Leish, Attorney (813) 229-4341 or [email protected]

SARASOTA, FL – On the eve of Sunshine Week celebrations across the nation, and after nine months of contentious litigation, the City of Venice voted today to accept a settlement agreement in a precedent-setting open government case. In the summer of 2008, activist Anthony Lorenzo and Citizens for Sunshine brought a lawsuit centering upon the deletion of e-mails and the alleged use by elected officials of liaisons, in-person meetings, and private e-mail accounts to circumvent Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law. Early in the litigation the trial judge took the unusual step of ordering a forensic examination of the home computers of the Mayor, Vice-Mayor and a Councilmember after plaintiffs’ attorneys presented evidence of widespread violations of the Public Records Law. The lawsuit later survived repeated attempts by the defendants to have the claims dismissed prior to trial, which had been scheduled to begin on February 23 before being postponed due to the proposed settlement. Under the settlement agreement, the City admits to violations of both the Sunshine and the Public Records laws and accepts the imposition of broad remedial requirements to ensure the preservation of public records and uphold the constitutional requirement that public business be conducted in the Sunshine. The settlement also requires the City to pay substantial attorneys fees, as mandated by the Public Records and Sunshine Laws.

Barbara Peterson, President of the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee, praised the results of the litigation. “First and foremost, the case highlights the importance of open government and will, hopefully, encourage citizens to take a more active role in overseeing their government – that their oversight and vigilance can make a significant difference. And it makes it quite clear to government agencies and employees that they can’t somehow evade or avoid Florida’s open government laws by using personal computers and personal e-mail accounts to conduct the public’s business.”

Despite a vigorous defense mounted by a dozen attorneys for the City and its elected officials, Citizens for Sunshine prevailed on behalf of the public’s right to know. As a result, a cloud has been lifted over the City of Venice and the fight for government accountability and transparency has been vindicated. The settlement agreement reached in this historic case will serve the citizens of Venice in exercising their rights by ensuring the City’s compliance with both the spirit and the letter of the Sunshine and Public Records Laws. The agreement provides for specific and substantive measures that will protect the constitutional right to openness in conducting the public’s business, including a mandatory annual training program for elected and appointed officials and a ban on the use by such officials of private email accounts to conduct City business. The Plaintiffs were initially represented by Andrea Flynn Mogensen of Sarasota, who was later joined by First Amendment attorney Matthew Leish and his associate Amy Carstensen of Carlton Fields, PA in Tampa. “I would like to thank my attorneys for their dedication in the face of significant adversity. Andrea Flynn Mogensen worked tirelessly and sacrificed much of her solo law practice over the past 9 months to prevail in this case. Also, we could not have reached this result without the intervention of Matt Leish and Amy Carstensen from Carlton Fields. Their expertise and resources proved instrumental at a critical time during the litigation. Finally, I want to thank Michael Barfield for his keen insights and dogged determination at every stage of this case. Each of them worked as a team to set the standard in this precedent-setting case,” said Anthony Lorenzo, President of Citizens for Sunshine, Inc. Florida’s Public Records and Sunshine Laws have come to be regarded as national models for governmental access and citizen participation. This year, Florida will celebrate exactly 100 years of its Public Records Law. Today, citizens can be assured that those laws remain strong tools that allow them to discover what their government is doing.

Read the complaint filed in the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit at http://www.sarasotacriminallawyer.com/files/Fourth_Amended_Complaint.pdf

Read the settlement agreement at http://www.sarasotacriminallawyer.com/files/Settlement_Stipulation.pdf

About Citizens for Sunshine Citizens for Sunshine, Inc., is a not-for-profit which promotes awareness of and compliance with the Florida Public Records and Government-in-the-Sunshine Law. Anthony Lorenzo is the President of Citizens for Sunshine, Inc.’

http://www.carltonfields.com/newseventspubs/news/Detail.aspx?news=824
CUSTODIAN OF PUBLIC RECORDS STATUTE…..
119.021 Custodial requirements; maintenance, preservation, and retention of public records.–

(1) Public records shall be maintained and preserved as follows:

(a) All public records should be kept in the buildings in which they are ordinarily used.

(b) Insofar as practicable, a custodian of public records of vital, permanent, or archival records shall keep them in fireproof and waterproof safes, vaults, or rooms fitted with noncombustible materials and in such arrangement as to be easily accessible for convenient use.

(c)1. Record books should be copied or repaired, renovated, or rebound if worn, mutilated, damaged, or difficult to read.

2. Whenever any state, county, or municipal records are in need of repair, restoration, or rebinding, the head of the concerned state agency, department, board, or commission; the board of county commissioners of such county; or the governing body of such municipality may authorize that such records be removed from the building or office in which such records are ordinarily kept for the length of time required to repair, restore, or rebind them.

3. Any public official who causes a record book to be copied shall attest and certify under oath that the copy is an accurate copy of the original book. The copy shall then have the force and effect of the original.

(2)(a) The Division of Library and Information Services of the Department of State shall adopt rules to establish retention schedules and a disposal process for public records.

(b) Each agency shall comply with the rules establishing retention schedules and disposal processes for public records which are adopted by the records and information management program of the division.

(c) Each public official shall systematically dispose of records no longer needed, subject to the consent of the records and information management program of the division in accordance with s. 257.36.

(d) The division may ascertain the condition of public records and shall give advice and assistance to public officials to solve problems related to the preservation, creation, filing, and public accessibility of public records in their custody. Public officials shall assist the division by preparing an inclusive inventory of categories of public records in their custody. The division shall establish a time period for the retention or disposal of each series of records. Upon the completion of the inventory and schedule, the division shall, subject to the availability of necessary space, staff, and other facilities for such purposes, make space available in its records center for the filing of semicurrent records so scheduled and in its archives for noncurrent records of permanent value, and shall render such other assistance as needed, including the microfilming of records so scheduled.

(3) Agency orders that comprise final agency action and that must be indexed or listed pursuant to s. 120.53 have continuing legal significance; therefore, notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or any provision of chapter 257, each agency shall permanently maintain records of such orders pursuant to the applicable rules of the Department of State.

(4)(a) Whoever has custody of any public records shall deliver, at the expiration of his or her term of office, to his or her successor or, if there be none, to the records and information management program of the Division of Library and Information Services of the Department of State, all public records kept or received by him or her in the transaction of official business.

(b) Whoever is entitled to custody of public records shall demand them from any person having illegal possession of them, who must forthwith deliver the same to him or her. Any person unlawfully possessing public records must within 10 days deliver such records to the lawful custodian of public records unless just cause exists for failing to deliver such records.

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Why Are They Chasing Their “TALES”? ….

August 22, 2009 by Barbara

LBTS TOWN ADMINISTRATION IS “SPINNING” …. “TALES”…. ….

Dear Readers…There’s a real problem when actions are made without thinking through what the consequences may be of those actions …..That seems to be the case with the change in the Town’s policy of no longer opening up and reading “aloud” RFP bids at the time and place advertised…(prev. posts) This incredibly stupid move has spawned more incredibly stupid moves….that come from chasing the “tales” made from stopping what is done in every town around!… A call by this writer to Hollywood, the previous town represented by former Town Atty. Dan Abbott produced the response of “yes they open and read aloud the bids”, it states the same online  for Hollywood- “All formal bids are opened in the public, read aloud in the  specified  location”….  In neighboring towns on their websites is more proof that LBTS is acting counter to the norm……..Deerfield Beach-“publicly opened and read at the time and place specified on the bid documents”/ Pompano Beach ” All bids are opened at indicated time and date in public and read aloud in the Purchasing Division offices”/Miami Springs (where the Town Manager Colon worked prior to LBTS)- ” All sealed bids advertised to be received by the City shall be opened and read publicly”

And low and behold when Googling The City of Sweetwater, (Town Manager Colon’s 1st employment in a municipality)up popped the  8/5/09 Miami Herald article about a decision to pass an ordinance in August that modifies their previous procedure for opening sealed bids on competitive city projects by having a committee of 3 people open the bids prior to a commission meeting and forward to the Mayor for review….The article states that before this change the bids were opened at the commission meetings, forwarded to the mayor for further analysis and then put on the next month’s meeting for selection…”Hmmm….

A quick re-cap on why we are where we are……. on July 29, 2009 there was an RFP opening of sealed bids…it was the first time the Town said they would not be reading “aloud” the bid prices…The excuse made ranged from the time, with the impending continuation of the July 28, 2009 Commission meeting ready to go a half hour after the set 2 pm time published for the bids….to the Assist. Town Manager stating they had problems with companies providing faulty tabulations and they were going to take them open them tabulate and then they would be available 10 days later with a PRR….Previous posts show that this did not sit well with this writer… From there a PRR was requested by this writer and Comm. Dodd asked for an opinion from the Town Atty. along with putting it on the 9/9/09 agenda…On 8/11/09 there was a 2nd RFP sealed bid opening in Jarvis Hall where 14 bidders (per this writer’s count) attended ( there were 16 bids) for the Commercial Blvd drainage project and were met with the same stupidity of not having the bids “read aloud” despite the bid  packages they all received saying they would be… The BSO was called in…Company reps were dumbfounded…outraged and many made quick calls to their offices ….The Town Manager “lead” the Assist. Town Manager in repeating the same ridiculous reasons as were made to this writer on the 29th… The  Town Manager made sure that Assist. Town Manager Olinzock informed all of being able to pick up the bid info 10 days later… and after a question from this writer about a fee, Assist. Town Manger Olinzock said there would be none….The Town Manager also declared the bidders could contact the Town Atty. for an opinion… I went in and made a PRR for that “opinion”… (prev. post)… It was not an opinion …it was a series of e-mails between the Town Manager, Assist. Town Manager Olinzock and the Town Atty. who stated it was not a legal opinion, stating she did not have the RFP and was going on just what info was provided per the Assist. Town Manager…  “Tales”were told …semantics were front and center …what would you call an “evaluation”…”tabulating”?…as Assist. Town Manager Olinzock said was the reason for no more prices being “read aloud”…

“All proposals are in the process of being verified by staff for responsiveness and checked for mathematical accuracy because there have been instances in the past where proposers or bidders have not properly calculated the amounts shown” per the Town Atty’s e-mail …which followed up with ” Town staff is not evaluating or ranking the proposals, because such a ranking process was not identified as part of this RFP. All evaluation and selection is to be done by the Commission.”…HUH?…

The Town Manager sent back the following …” Perfect Response  Susan (Town Atty. Trevarthen) FYI- administration will provide a recommendation to the commission after review of analysis with staff.”…

  • Main Entry: eval·u·ate
  • Pronunciation: \i-ˈval-yə-ˌwāt, -yü-ˌāt\
  • Function: transitive verb
  • Inflected Form(s): eval·u·at·ed; eval·u·at·ing
  • Etymology: back-formation from evaluation, from French évaluation, from Middle French evaluacion, from esvaluer to evaluate, from e- + value value
  • Date: 1842

1 : to determine or fix the value of
2 : to determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study

Furthermore…. How embarrassing that any of the companies who made the same request for the Town Atty’s opinion would be in receipt of the e-mail exchanges!

Since then this writer was sent an e-mail from PIO D’Oliveira (prev. post) informing me that the PRR for 7/29/09 was ready at a cost of $47.58 for the 9 IT bids..

MORE E-MAILS FOLLOWED……..on the RFPs…

Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:27 AM
From:”Barbara Cole”

To:
“Steve D’Olivera”
Steve, I would like to pick up the 3 requests…the May 22,2007/Town Atty. opinion and if possible the free sheet of the 9 IT bidders prices. Please respond. Barbara Cole

After not hearing back form Steve, I  went in to pick them up…….Town Clerk White and I had a little exchange where she said I requested the 9 bids and they copied the packets…I said I assumed it would be a sheet of prices as would have been the case if the Town “read aloud” the bids as done up until that day…She said I needed to be more “specific ” in the future with my PRRs…I answered “No, the Town needs to inform me per the Florida State Statutes if there will be more expense than copying fees”…..After my return home I received the following e-mails from PIO D’Oliveira ….

From: “Steve D’Olivera”
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 14:36:40 -0400
To: Barbara Cole
Subject: RE: PRR Follow-Up

Hi:

When I called to see if this was ready, I was told you were in Town Hall.

steve

Thursday, August 20, 2009 2:42 PM

From:

“Steve D’Olivera” <[email protected]>

To:

[email protected]

Barbara:

The Town Clerk has asked me to ask you to submit a separate Public Records Request every time you ask for a new set of records or documents, as opposed to just hitting reply on a previous e-mail.

We hope it’ll make things easier to track.

With that in mind, could you submit a PRR to me requesting the IT sheet?

Thanks.

Steve

Thursday, August 20, 2009 2:45 PM
From:
[email protected]
To:
“Steve D’Olivera”
Yes, I was up that way. I asked June to inform me going forth of any charges over copying costs. I did not accept the IT bids for 47.58 due to believing it would be 1 sheet of prices as I would have written down if it were read aloud as was the case at all prior bid openings. Please let me know of any extra costs prior on any PRR I have in the works or submit in the future so we’re all on the same page. Thanks, Barbara
Thursday, August 20, 2009 3:09 PM
From:
“Barbara Cole”
To:
[email protected]
PIO D’Oliveira, as per your e-mail.
1. I request the sheet of bid prices as to be provided to the 9 bidders of the IT RFP that was not read aloud on July 29, 2009.
2. I request the sheet of bid prices as to be provided to the 16 bidders of the Comm. Blvd. drainage project RFP not read aloud on Aug. 11, 2009.
3. I request the sheet of bid prices as to be provided to the 3 bidders of the Parking Citation Process RFP not read aloud on Aug. 11, 2009.
4. I request the sheet of bid prices as to be provided to the bidders of the Sewer and Storm Drain RFP probably not to be read aloud on Aug 27, 2009.
Please let me know when they are available for pickup.
As per prior e-mail to you /discussion with Town Clerk White today, please let me know if there are any costs above copying and if so will that be charged to the bidders as well.
Thank you, Barbara Cole
From: Steve D’Olivera
Subject: Recent PRR on bids
To: [email protected]
Date: Friday, August 21, 2009, 2:55 PM
Barbara:
Town Hall does not have a sheet of bid prices. You are welcome to come to Town Hall to view the RFP packets as a public record without charge.
The Sewer & Storm drain RFP’s have not been received.

Steve

Friday, August 21, 2009 5:08 PM
From:
“Barbara Cole”
To:
“Steve D’Olivera”
Steve, Now I am really stumped by the Town’s recent action to change the process of reading the bid “aloud” at the bid opening time published in the newspaper /bid package and on the Town board.
Are you saying that each bidder will need to come back to the Town and take staff time 10 days business days ( stated time frame by the Assist. TM at the last 2 bids) after the bid date to inspect the bid packets?
This seems to be contrary to the Assist. Town Manager’s statement on 7/29/09 when said the reason they would no longer read them “aloud” was faulty tabulations made by bidders and on 8/11/09 when he said there would be no fee for just the prices.
You will have just from the 3 RFPs on those 2 dates 29 people who will require a viewing if they want to see the bid packets.
In my e-mail PRR I stated the RFP for sewer and storm drain was on 8/27/09, I just added it to the list to not have a separate PRR.
I await a response, Barbara

So here we are today… a change for no reason of how the Town will deal with RFP sealed bids led to ……Town Atty. time and non-opinions…Public Records Requests…e-mails….Commissioner time….. added time for staff for public viewing of RFPs ….Town Atty. opinion expected before the 9/9/09 Commission meeting…Agenda item….Commission time…the expected “heated ” dais exchange…motions needed to change the LBTS purchasing manual to reflect RFPs being “read aloud” to reflect the bid publications and be in line with other towns ….(finding out why the RFP page [19] was revised without the Commissions consent)… and more bad  P.R. for the LBTS Town Administration … and the never ending “tales” they keep “spinning”!

more to come….

Post Division