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Transcript of 3 months' of e-mails about requested public documents

A razor wire fence rings the perimeter of the Dozier School for Boys. The fence serves to keep juveniles confined and outsiders away. The DJJ declined repeated requests by the Times to visit the school.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times (2009)

A razor wire fence rings the perimeter of the Dozier School for Boys. The fence serves to keep juveniles confined and outsiders away. The DJJ declined repeated requests by the Times to visit the school.

Whether you know it or not, you, Joe Citizen, are allowed to inspect Florida's public records. That includes all documents, papers, letters, maps, books or tapes "made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency," with a few exceptions.

You also have a reasonable right of access to those documents, which means you're entitled to a public record in the time it takes the agency to find the record, review it for exempt information and provide you a copy. The government is allowed to charge you for its copying and redacting.

But sometimes that process goes terribly wrong, as evidenced in the following exchange between child advocate Cathy Corry and officials with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Ben Montgomery, Times staff writer

 

Oct. 23

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson, DJJ public information officer

Hi Elisa,

Please provide e-copies of all documents written by Milton Mooneyham concerning the 02/11/07 Justin Caldwell incidents at Dozier School for Boys. This would include all reports, emails, notes, correspondence, etc. to FDLE, Marianna Police Department, and all other agencies, as well as DJJ internal documents.

Oct. 26

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

Hi Cathy, Your request has been received. There will be a charge associated with this request for redaction, MIS email search and copy. Also the information other than the emails may or may not be provided electronically. If the reports are hard copy that's how they will be made available to you.

Oct. 26

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

Thanks Elisa — Please provide an estimate of the charge.

Oct 26

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

Will do.

Oct. 29

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

When do you expect to have the estimate?

Oct. 29

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

Hi Cathy, For the past few weeks the MIS server was down and had to be repaired now data is being restored. Email research has been affected.

Nov. 6

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

It's been another week. Has the data been restored?

Nov. 6

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

FYI

Elisa, We are still re-indexing the files. We have finished indexing all of 2009 and 2008. It will be sometime next week before we finish indexing all the files from 2007. The information requested was from 2007. Sorry for the delay.

Nov. 12

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

What is the latest update on the 'indexing of the files'?

Nov. 16

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

Elisa — What is the status of this public records request I submitted more than three weeks ago?

Nov. 18

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

CC: Frank Penela, DJJ director of communications

Elisa or someone — Please provide an update to me about the below old public records request.

Nov. 18

From: Frank Penela

To: Cathy Corry

Thanks Cathy. I will look into this today. Have a great day!

Nov. 19

From: Cathy Corry

To: Frank Penela

Frank — What is the status of my records request after you looked into it yesterday? ~Cathy

Nov. 20

From: Cathy Corry

To: Frank Penela

Frank — WHAT IS THE DELAY on this public records request I submitted four weeks ago?

Nov. 20

From: Frank Penela

To: Cathy Corry

My apologies. I spoke with Elisa Watson yesterday, and we are currently working with our IT section to speed up the delay. As I understand, they had a "revamp" on database and there have been some delays. I have asked Elisa to light a fire to accommodate this request. I can assure you, we will do our best to make this happen as quickly as possible. Thank you for you patience. Frank

Dec. 2

From: Cathy Corry

To: Frank Penela

Frank, What has happened with the 'light a fire' from a couple of weeks ago? My request was initiated October 23rd! ~Cathy

Dec. 7

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

Hi Cathy, Please see the invoice below regarding your email request. The agency will not be able accommodate your request for an e-copy of the emails because the child's name has to be redacted.

Dec. 8

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

Thanks Elisa. In today's mail, I sent a check for $83.47 deposit. Please confirm receipt of this payment by end of week. ~Cathy

Dec. 15

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

Hi Elisa — Please confirm receipt of my check mailed one week ago. Thanks, ~Cathy

Dec. 15

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

No check received.

Dec. 15

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

Please ask Finance & Accounting if my check got misrouted there. Thanks.

Dec. 15

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

No check received there with your name on it.

Dec. 17

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

It's been nine days since I mailed my check. Did you receive it yet?

Dec. 18

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

Nope, not yet.

Dec. 18

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

OK — I'll mail another check. Let me know if the other check arrives - it's check #184. Seems too strange that it didn't get to you!

Dec. 30

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

Elisa — Have you yet received one, or both, of the checks I mailed to DJJ? ~Cathy

Dec. 30

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

Check #190 received.

Jan. 4

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

Elisa, I have sent $108.33, check #194, as the final payment for Invoice Number: 091861. What is the timeframe for the collection and copying of the records? ~Cathy

Jan. 5

From: Cathy Corry

To: Frank Penela

CC: Elisa Watson

Frank, What is the status of my records request, now that it's been one month since I mailed the deposit check and 2 1/2 months since the initial records request. ~Cathy

 

Jan. 6

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

Cathy, We have no record of a check received a month ago from you. As of today our office has only received 1 check for $83.47 on 12/30/09. The printing and redaction has begun on your request I will notify upon completion.

Jan. 21

From: Cathy Corry

To: Frank Penela

Elisa / Frank — Re: Invoice #091861

A check I sent to you (that you said you did not receive) was cashed: $83.47 check #184 dated 12/08/09 was cashed 12/24/09

My replacement check (for above 'missing' check) was also cashed: $ 83.47 check #190 dated 12/21/09 was cashed 01/14/10

The check for final payment of invoice #091861 was cashed: $108.33 check #194 dated 12/31/09 was cashed 01/14/10

Please review this and issue a refund check to me.

Jan. 21

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

CC: Frank Penela

Cathy/Frank — I am forwarding this inquiry to Finance and Accounting. Check #184 was not deposited by me so I need to find out what happened. I will request a refund of $83.47.

Jan. 21

From: Frank Penela

To: Elisa Watson

CC: Cathy Corry

Thank you Elisa.

Jan. 22

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

CC: Frank Penela

When will the refund check be mailed to me?

Jan. 22

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

Hi Cathy, Finance and Accounting is working with me on your request. I will update you on Monday.

Jan. 26

From: Cathy Corry

To: Elisa Watson

CC: Frank Penela

Elisa — I didn't receive your 'Monday update'. It's Tuesday. What is the update? ~Cathy

Jan. 26

From: Elisa Watson

To: Cathy Corry

CC: Frank Penela

Your refund is being processed. You may receive it by early next week.

Jan. 26

From: Frank Penela

To: Cathy Corry

Cathy: The check is being Fedex'd today. Thank you.

Jan. 26

From: Cathy Corry

To: Frank Penela

CC: Elisa Watson

Do not waste our money (taxpayer $$) FedEx'ing the check to me. Just use a 44 cent stamp. If you insist on spending $$, just mail me an extra $25 instead of paying FedEx the $25.

Jan. 26

From: Frank Penela

To: Cathy Corry

Cathy: I will look into this to see if it is possible to call it back. This was simply done in an effort to expedite things for you. I will make sure to not do this in the future.

PostScript: On Jan. 27, Cathy Corry received a FedEx package containing her $83.47 refund check. She fired off one final e-mail to a reporter: "What a waste!"

Transcript of 3 months' of e-mails about requested public documents 02/06/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 12, 2014 12:27pm]
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