Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Town of Summerfield Manager Scott Whitaker throws Summerfield mayor Gail Dunham under a bus

From: Scott Whitaker [mailto:swhitaker@summerfieldgov.com]
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2018 2:03 PM
To: Stokes nwobserver.com>; Pegram <@summerfieldgov.com>; O'Day <joday@summerfieldgov.com>; Reece Walker <rwalker@summerfieldgov.com>; Dena Barnes <denabarnes@triad.rr.com>; 'William Hill' <whill@frazierlawnc.com>

Cc: Gail Dunham, Summerfield <GADunham@aol.com>; Gail Dunham <mayorgail@yahoo.com>; clerk@summerfieldgov.com; Mike Southard @triadhosting.com>; Bill Stone @stonepcworks.com>
Subject: Re: Public Record Requests in Summerfield

Council, and Bill,

Unfortunately, much of what Mayor Dunham is saying in her citizen-group newsletter below is, again, untrue.

This isn’t a case of her not understanding what emails the town is in possession of, it’s a continuation of her deflection and unwillingness to take responsibility for the records that only she possesses.

I’ve copied two town vendors who have knowledge of our email and IT set-up and invite them to correct any misunderstanding that I might have. Regarding our mayor’s mayorgail@yahoo.com address, there is no connection between this account and the town server. The town possesses emails from this address only when they’re received by addresses that have a connection to our server, such as swhitaker@summerfieldgov.com, clerk@summerfieldgov.com, etc.

Otherwise, the town doesn’t have access to this address when the mayor emails citizens, contractors, agencies, legislators, etc. or when others email her at this address.

Regarding our mayor’s long-time gadunham@aol.com address, the situation is the same. The town only possesses those emails when they’re received by addresses that have a connection to the town. The town has gradually acquired several emails that clearly show she has used (as late as mid-June) this personal address with some individuals regarding town business. Also, when the mayor says that her original, town-issued address (gdunham@summerfieldgov.com) wasn’t working, the issues were not on the town’s end (not related to our email clients). The issues had to do with her preferred set-up and preferences.

Nothing has changed regarding what records the town possesses. Certainly it’s in possession of many emails from our mayor, but the requestors are asking for either all of the mayor’s town-related emails or specific ones to individuals that the town has never possessed. The mayor’s communication below is a prime example of her distribution of town-related emails, clearly a public record, to a select group (“Friends of Gail Dunham”) that the town only possesses if someone forwards it. If the town provided all of what it possesses, it would be a percentage of the total and largely not what’s being sought. If the mayor ever provides all records, we can do a “data dump” that will hopefully address all requests.

The town has not sought citizen-only emails (?), but instead those dealing with town matters to and from our mayor, Council member Pegram, and former Council member Rotruck. The town isn’t the requestor in any instance; our role is to respond as statutorily required when others make requests. The communication below is dishonest and is largely deflection and sad finger-pointing.



Town Manager Scott Whitaker
Town of Summerfield
From: Patti Stokes <patti@nwobserver.com>
Date: Monday, August 13, 2018 at 11:40 AM
To: Scott Whitaker <swhitaker@summerfieldgov.com>, Bill Hill <whill@frazierlawnc.com>
Cc: Lance Heater <clerk@summerfieldgov.com>
Subject: FW: Public Record Requests in Summerfield

Hi Scott and Bill,

I’m SO confused – Per Gail’s email below, she insists that the town is in possession of her emails, and that she has promptly replied to public records requests for her emails. That wasn’t my understanding. Do I need to print a correction to what I’ve been reporting??

patti stokes, editor/publisher
publisher of the Northwest Observer
August 13, 2018                                       

Public Records Requests in Summerfield

On a personal note, I have been requesting that the town release all town-business-related emails from December 13, 2017 to date to comply with the N.C. Public Records Act. The emails are on the town server and the town professional Technical Services could release them. The contractor has provided similar email research in the past. Release them all including Scott Whitaker, town manager and Bill Hill, town attorney, so that no word, phrase, or sentence is taken out of context and there is a more complete record for the public if this is of interest to you.

NC Statute Chapter 132 states that Public Records requests must be “in connection with the transaction of public business,” and “pursuant to law or ordinance” (not “all emails”). NC School of Government blog also states “made or received in connection with the transaction of public business.” Transaction is the word, used legally, and it is a noun, transact is a verb.

Public records are for the public, the citizens, to request from the town. It is not for the town to request, demand or disclose emails from private citizens, and that is happening now. I feel the town must respect your privacy.

My occasional Summerfield emails are to inform you about town meetings/business and to promote citizen participation. Those emails are not provided at government expense and are social media and paid for by my political action committee.

When I requested public records in the past they were specific and usually about how the town was spending your money. In years past requests for “all emails” town attorney Bill Hill stated those requests were too broad and had to be specific.

I used the gdunham@summerfieldgov.com for about a month (Dec 2017+) and I do not have those emails. They are on the town server and should be disclosed with all town business emails. Summerfieldgov had multiple problems, including email not going through for up to three days. The town contractor and I spent time and taxpayer money, but it was just not working. While there were problems with summerfieldgov Scott Whitaker sent some emails to my personal and political GADunham@aol.com. Public Records Requests are filed with the town, not with individuals, and, again, it is up to the town to comply and release those town business emails which the town has.

MayorGail@yahoo.com is only for town business, and goes through the town server with other town emails. It is not unique as the following emails also go through the town server.


In the past other officials have also used the following with the town server and town business:

Mark Brown                  Edard4@bellsouth.net
Mike Adams                 CAA119@aol.com
Tim Sessoms               TSessoms@CRGWF.com
Dianne Laughlin Grannymadi@triad.rr.com

If you care about recent details I received ten requests and replied far more promptly, even with time off for family vacation, more timely than I received as a private citizen. Three are from one person, and did not receive April 25th until much later. Two from one person with only a phone number not listed to that person. I requested corrections, but they were sent back to me with no corrections. Overwhelmingly the requests are “all emails” and some including time as a private citizen. I generally replied correctly that “all emails” is overly broad, and not specific to NC Chapter 132 “transaction of town business.” I will continue to monitor public requests, and encourage them to comply with the NC Statute. As I stated above I do not even have some of those emails; they are with the town server. I think too much town time and taxpayer money is being spent in pursuit of personal emails of private citizens and others. Seems the ten are a mounting political pile.

I hope the town will release the town business emails on the town server, and invest town time and resources in constructive work to serve the taxpayers of our beautiful town.

Thank you.

Scroll down for contact information for your Town Council, and committee members.

Feel free to share this email. Thank you!

Gail Dunham
5805 Snow Hill Drive, Summerfield 27358
643 - 1321

Summerfield mayor Gail Dunham conspiring with Todd Rotruck on his residential status and the editor/publisher of the Northwest Observer on Dunham's character, and other records request related communications


Records request of the Town of Summerfield


Say Yes Guilford, Say Yes to Education and another appointed crony to a local elected board, Winston McGregor who is going to cover Alan Duncan's back on one of the most under-reported frauds in Guilford County's history