Regarding Clarkston City Council meeting public comments of August 24, 2020.
I want to thank (administrative assistant) Jennifer Speagle for restoring council meeting documents prior to 2018 to the city’s website. This information is once again available to the public.
Why were these public records removed?
In March 2020, I became aware that council meeting documents prior to 2018 had been archived and were no longer available to the public. I communicated by email with both Jennifer and (city manager) Jonathan Smith.
In the May 26, 2020 council meeting I asked about the city’s website missing council meeting documents for meetings prior to 2018. Jonathan commented that it was not intentional. In the August 10, 2020 meeting I asked about the missing information and only Jennifer responded by saying she would work with CivicPlus to restore the records.
The city’s commitment to transparency is, understandably, being questioned.
If you were a city official on September 10, 2018 you received copies of City Attorney Tom Ryan’s invoices from 2015 that I distributed after making public comments.
Based on my successfully accessing 2015 council records in 2018 and unable to access in March 2020, the removal from public access occurred between those dates. Why this was done remains unclear.
I do ask, however, how will this information will be protected in the future?
The Michigan Supreme Court determined that Ryan was a public body. He should have provided the June 7, 2015 FOIA requested documents, enumerated in Section 1, 2,3, 4 and 5) in their entirety. After the council’s closed meeting Sue Wylie was the only council member who voted for transparency. The mayor and other council members voted to delay the release of the 18 withheld documents and support overturning the decision.
Why the specifically requested 18 documents were withheld is relevant to Clarkston citizens who value transparency. Ryan withheld the 18 documents, even though they were specifically identified in the FOIA request.
What is so special about the 18 withheld documents will soon be apparent, and you may be able to identify the common thread.
Listed next are the 18 withheld documents from the Bisio FOIA request.
Withheld Document Listing from Tom Ryan Invoices Feb, Mar, Apr, May 2015
1. Review correspondence from Neil Wallace re: water table re: 148 N Main. 1/30/15
2. Review correspondence from John Cecil at HRC re: having developer provide correspondence from MDEC re: any impacts to the existing contamination plume; NPDES permit waiver is fine re: 148 N Main Street. 2/4/15
3. Review correspondence from Neil Wallace re: project re: 148 N Main Street. 2/5/15
4. Review correspondence from Neil Wallace re: response to Gary Tressel’s email regarding approval of MDEC; data provided that this will not affect the plume; Copnditional (sic) Rezoning Agreement re: 148 N Main Street. 2/23/15
5. Review correspondence from Neil Wallace re: Indemnity for storm water system 148 N Main. 3/23/15
6. Correspondence to Neil Wallace re: did HRC receive a copy of the revised groundwater mounding analysis; working on indemnity agreement. 3/26/15
7. Correspondence to Neil Wallace re: proper party for Hold Harmless Agreement and forward appropriate language re: 148 N Main Street. 3/27/15
8. Review correspondence from Neil Wallace re: revised draft of Hold Harmless Agreement re: 148 N Main. 3/27/15
9. Review correspondence from Thomas Biehl at HRC re: comments relative to Hold Harmless Agreement re: 148 N Main. 3/30/15
10. Correspondence to Thomas Biehl and Kevin Gleeson re: Hold Harmless Agreement re: 148 N Main Street. 3/30/15
11. Review correspondence from Neil Wallace re: status of Hold Harmless Agreement. 4/2/15
12. Review correspondence from John Cecil at HRC re: Hold Harmless Agreement and final site plan. 4/13/15
13. Review correspondence from Neil Wallace re: Hold Harmless Agreement re: 148 N Main Street. 4/13/15
14. Correspondence to Jeff Leib re: meeting on 5/6/15 at 10 a.m. re: vacant property at Waldon and M-15. 4/23/15
15. Review correspondence from Jeff Lieb (sic) re: vacant property cleanup at Waldon and M-15. 4/23/15
16. Review correspondence from Jeffrey Leib re: property at Waldon and M-15. 5/7/15
17. Correspondence to Jeff Leib re: vacant property at Waldon and M-15. 5/13/15
18. Correspondence from Jeff Leib re: Waldon Road and M-15 property. 5/20/15