Friday, March 18, 2016

Kotis Dodges A Bullet

The name Marty Kotis is not new to readers here at, but what might be seen to some of our readers as new is a post about Marty Kotis that isn't trashing him over his latest pocketing of taxpayers' monies or under the table favors to local politicians.

As Mark Binker of WRAL writes:

"Members of the UNC Board of Governors hired Margaret Spellings to be UNC president after a controversy-laden process, granted top campus officials pay raises and tackled other subjects regarding the future of the 17-campus system.

At the same time they discussed those matters behind closed doors and in carefully choreographed public meetings, board members were also discussing them amongst themselves via email, creating a trove of documents that could provide insight into how and why decisions were made.

But more than five months after a request by WRAL News – and weeks after Spellings officially took her seat as system president – a batch of email detailing that tumultuous month is still being "manually reviewed" by the UNC system. That release has been delayed, in part, because each individual member of the board conducted the public's business over personal email accounts or email systems run by their employers until late October.

In early January, UNC system spokeswoman Joni Worthington responded to an inquiry about the status of the disclosure with a "reminder that we also had to collect potentially responsive emails from individual board members."

Apparently the journalists working at the State level are having the same sort of concerns we've been having with the Greensboro City Council in that public information requests are taking too long and some people are using personal e-mail addresses for public business in order to make it harder for the public to find out what  they're up to.

But as Binker writes, that wasn't the case with Marty Kotis, who as a UNC Board Member, chose to use only the UNC e-mail servers for public business:

"Whether a member of the public is asking for emails sent over the course of a day, a month or a year, emails to and from board members conducting the business of the public university system should be open to inspection.

"I don't think it's very complicated at all. I think if it relates to public business, it's doesn't matter what the device or email account is," said Frayda Bluestein, professor of public law and government at UNC-Chapel Hill. "People have to trust that when you get a request, you're going to give up whatever you have."

The only question, Bluestein said, is how to technically transfer the documents requested.

"I think it's much easier for us to use the UNC system email," said Marty Kotis, a developer and board member from Greensboro.

Kotis said he turned his records responsive to WRAL News' request over to UNC staff on Nov. 9.

Other board members could not respond as quite as quickly. Now that the emails are in the hands of the university system, they are being vetted by the school officials before they're released."

Wow, Marty released his e-mails 5 months ahead of many of the rest of the UNC board members. Perhaps Mr Kotis needs to advise his very close friend and confidant, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan on the importance of using her public e-mail server for the public's business.