FWC isn’t exactly known for its accountability or it’s response to the public. In fact, when I was working for the Legislature I remember many times getting the finger from the agency that has constitutional authority to make it’s own laws. (P.S. wait until DOH realizes they have this authority now with medical marijuana!) But it takes a special kind of stupid to be this nakedly corrupt after all of the issues with public officials email lately. Rick Scott was required to pay $700,000 for doing business out of the Sunshine!
In recent years, we have seen increasing disregard for public records among public officials. Orange County commissioners deleted texts. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wiped clean an email server….-Orlando Sentinel Columnist Scott Maxwell
As you know Florida has a broad public records law. Somebody sent me some documents last week about gubernatorial hopeful Ron Bergeron. Following up on the tip, I asked the department for a record of his emails.
What I got back (Ron.Bergeron – Indigo Snakes_1) it became crystal clear that Bergeron wasn’t doing his own emailing. Actually, there was clearly somebody forwarding his emails to his private secretary. If I wanted to get to the bottom of this, I had to get HER emails. She was the record custodian. Of course upon asking for the REAL emails, I was hit with a $425 charge to look at his emails!
So you can look at his fake email box for free, but if you want to look at government business, then you have to pay. According to the Attorney General’s Opinion 2013-03, the FWC is wrong. The Attorney General strongly suggests that “agencies implement the service charge authorization in a manner that reflects the purpose and intent of the Public Records Act and does not represent an unreasonable infringement on the public’s statutory and constitutional right of access to public records.”
I’ve asked the department to comment on why they were happy to give me the emails he doesn’t use for free, but hit me with a large charge once I found out what’s really going on…but of course I haven’t heard back.
Considering the courts in Florida have determined that public record laws can’t be defeated by using a private server, and the controversy surrounding using private emails to hide, will the authorities investigate?
I wouldn’t hold my breath…. Scott Maxwell is right – “Way too often in Florida politics, prosecutors look the other way.”