This public records request for CAFR workpapers is the latest iteration of eight month long effort to secure source data from city files.
Thank you for yesterday explaining the City of Gainesville’s asserted intentions respecting the above public records request that I submitted September 27, 2019 on behalf of my client Brian O’Brien and that was acknowledged by the City of Gainesville as having been received on September 27, 2019, 70 days ago.
The end of another business day and business week is fast approaching. Your latest formulation of the City’s variously stated and inconsistently stated intentions respecting these public records have not been made manifest.
Whatever your position may be as to the timing of City’s responsibilities respecting Mr. O’Brien’s public records request, or may be later, the City’s responsibilities, unless you inform me otherwise, I assume lie with Gainesville City Manager Lee R. Feldman at this point in time. Although Mr. Feldman did not “assume the position” of Gainesville City Manager until 32 days ago — to use the formulation he expressed in an early October email declining to use his influence to assist Mr. O’Brien in having his public records request complied with consistent with the requirements of Chapter 119 F.S. — Mr. Feldman since November 4, 2019 seemingly has been responsible. As far as I am aware, the Gainesville City Commission as a body has taken no position on Mr. O’Brien’s still unfulfilled request.
As previously requested:
Please let me know when and where my client may pick up the discs your client maintains contain all public records responsive to my client Brian O’Brien’s Public Records Request EMM92719(5), excepting certain names, addresses and dates of birth you and your employee Katherine Mockler, Esq. have asserted have been overly redacted from original disc 3 of the FY2018 city audit work papers the city’s external auditor Purvis, Gray & Company turned over to the City in October.
When today may my client pick up copies of the original discs 1 and 2?
When, if not today, do you anticipate my client will be permitted to pick up a copy of the original disc 3 in original form excepting certain ambiguously asserted personally identifying information of certain unspecified City employees and certain unspecified city employee children and spouses you and your employee Karen Mockler, Esq., have variously asserted are required to be redacted, and excepting specified employee address and date of birth information and employee spouse and child name, address and date of birth information that are not allowed to be redacted but that my client has waived his right to receive?
I remind you of your email earlier this week in which you informed me that disc 3 had been redacted and that your employee Ms. Mockler would be providing Mr. O’Brien with disc 3 pick up information.
Ms. Shalley, as I have previously written, it has been Mr. O’Brien’s intention since the evening of September 26, 2019 to obtain audit work paper public records of the City’s FY2018 audits by Purvis, Gray & Company and to provide relevant documents from those work papers to the Florida Auditor General to assist her in conducting an audit of the City of Gainesville operations and management practices. Given the City’s checkered Chapter 119 compliance history you and your client may understand Mr. O’Brien’s concerns. The Auditor General has no subpoena powers.
Mr. O’Brien’s persistent efforts beginning 70 days ago to obtain the above-referenced public records should not come as a surprise to you or Mr. Feldman. Prior to the City Commission’s regressive priority tax increase vote, regressive electric rate fee increase vote, regressive other utilities fees increases votes, regressive fire assessment fee vote (all hundreds of percentage points higher than the increase in consumer prices) index) at the City Commission‘s September 26, 2019 FY2020 budget adoption meeting you attended and your client Mr. Feldman attended prior to his being selected as the City’s 4th city manager in 4 years, I stated clearly on the record on behalf of Brian O’Brien and his wife Julie O’Brien, after they had themselves addressed the City Commission during public comment, that it was Mr. O’Brien’s intention to assist with efforts to secure an independent outside review of the City’s finances if the City Commission failed to heed the requests of area residents and GRU customers who had come to City Hall that evening to ask the City Commission delay its vote and consider alternative options proposed by the public that would less severely impact the poor. Instead, the City Commission voted to impose every one of the unprecedented series of excessive regressive rate increases, fee increases and property tax increases championed by Mayor Lauren Poe. It was the seemingly callous disregard demonstrated that evening by Mr. Poe, and the City Commission majorities he oversees, of the pleas of 32 diverse city residents and GRU customers who came to the meeting to appeal to the City Commission in person that anchored in Mr. O’Brien his commitment to secure an independent outside review of the City finances the that Mr. Poe and his confederates claimed justified their unprecedented regressive tax, rate and fee increases extracted with the most severe consequences to the poor.
I here recite Mr. O’Brien‘s motivations in part to make pellucidly clear to you and Mr. Feldman that Mr. O’Brien’s resolve in obtaining the audit work paper public records is anchored in Mr. Poe’s seeming boundless disregard of the public interest and Mr. Feldman’s condoning of if not orchestration of a series or seeming associated public records compliance avoidance strategies. His resolve was seemingly made even stronger last evening by votes cast by Mr. Poe and confederates on the City Commission disregarding the pleas of another large, diverse group of area residents who uniformly asked the City Commission not to adopt an unprecedented series of public meeting participation limitations and prohibitions that at next year’s final budget approval meeting will further limit or prevent area residents and GRU customers who wish to propose alternatives to the City Commission’s expected next round of excessive regressive property tax increases, utility fee increases and electric rate increases.
Ms. Shalley, Mr. O’Brien is attempting to perform a public service for residents of Gainesville and GRU customers. I can assure you that he does not intend to be dissuaded. Please encourage your client to let him get on with it.
May Mr. O’Brien pick up disks 1, 2 and 3 as requested and described above before the close of business today? If so where?
Ray Washington, Attorney