Saturday, September 24, 2016

Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 12

As Roch Smith jr wrote in Greensboro’s new secrecy: Sinister and hostile:

"In 2009, there was a slew of firings, resignations and early retirements after a period where the city tried to massage its official story about the reasons for firing then-police chief David Wray by limiting access to public information. The official narrative fell apart under the relentless pursuit of the truth by bloggers and alternative media. Within a year, gone were the city manager, the city attorney and the city’s public relations officer."

It appears Greensboro may well again be on the same path under Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan who first ran for the mayor's office on a platform of transparency.

As I noted previously in my series, Adding To Roch's Pile, I'm no longer running for Mayor of Greensboro but my lawsuit against the City of Greensboro for failing to properly handle public records-- a search for truth-- continues. 

Since these things will be a part of the discovery process for my lawsuit against the City of Greensboro anyway I decided to submit another public records request to start the ball rolling.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Socrata:

"Socrata is a company that provides cloud-based data visualization and analysis tools for opening government data. Originally called Blist, Socrata was founded in February 2007. Socrata targets non-technical Internet users who want to view and share government, healthcare, energy, education, or environment data. Its products are issued under a proprietary, closed, exclusive license."

I don't know just how long the Greensboro Open Records website has been online or why it has never been put to use but I first discovered it over a year ago.

Now Roch Smith Jr is going to find this to be very interesting because City Attorney Thomas Carruthers told Roch that certain information Roch was looking for was unavailable because it was in the cloud when in-fact: the purpose of the cloud is to make the information public and available 24/7/365.

Thomas Carruthers has problems with the truth.

And don't you really think it sad that taxpayer dollars are being spent each and every month to host a Greensboro Open Records website that has almost nothing on it and hasn't been updated in almost a year-- perhaps longer?

I don't know but my guess is these things will reflect poorly in the mind of the judge.

Now there are plenty of reasons for putting public records online but probably the biggest reason to put public records online is cost. According to this 2015 article in The Daily Tarheel:
"UNC’s public records website states that the approximate cost to the University was $7,930 for each media request that was filed.

To assess cost, UNC calculates the total time spent by University personnel to gather the records and the amount of time that Public Records Office staff processes the requests. That is multiplied by an hourly rate of $22, or the average salary of Public Records Office staff other than Stabile."

Just so you know, City Attorney Thomas Carruthers quoted me $40.00 an hour vs the $22 noted in the article concerning UNC. Either way, open, online storage of public records would save taxpayers huge sums of money every year if our governing bodies are telling us the truth about the cost of retrieving and processing public records requests.

So why is the City of Greensboro paying for cloud services and an open data website that isn't in use? I can't honestly answer that question but I can speculate several different reasons and none of them reflect well on Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan, City Manager Jim Westmoreland or the City of Greensboro.

Stay tuned for Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 13 and if you haven't already done so, catch up on the entire series,
Adding To Roch's Pile.