Aug 9, 2011:
Interestingly when Mr. Allen specifically asked if the 911 attorney’s bill was for handling his Freedom of Information requests not a single board member answered. Not even the Chairman of the board.
Instead he was directed to get a copy of the invoice from the Treasure.
As we have already pointed out, the treasure does not have that type of information. A request to the County Clerk provided the following documents and sure enough, the 911 Board used 911 money to pay an attorney to handle Freedom of Information requests.
Any problem with that? I would say definitely, considering the minutes do not reflect ANYWERE that a motion for approval was made to use 911 money to hire an attorney to handle FOIA requests.
Sure they approved the payment but before you can approve the payment there should have been a motion to authorize the hiring of the attorney for this purpose, which they did not. More disturbing is the fact that hiring an attorney to handle FOIA requests is hardly justified in the statute.
Had they complied with the law in the first place they would have had a designated FOIA officer. It’s that person who is supposed to handle FOIA requests but instead they use the people’s money to pay an attorney, who by the way is also the Mayor of Paris.
And if that is not enough, their own by-laws outlined that the Secretary was responsible for all the records and was the custodian of those records. If that is the case then why on earth didn’t the secretary provide the requested documents?
That fact was pointed out when a complaint with the Attorney General was filed. What was the 911’s response to that? THEY CHANGED THEIR BY-LAWS! I find it very interesting that they have no issue spending money on numerous things outside the statute yet when an Emergency Response agency requests funding for pagers they tell them no, even though they purchased pagers for EVERY other agency in the county, EXCEPT the one making the request.
Not sure of the justification for such a refusal but rest assured there are more questions to come!