The Facts Behind The Teller’s Public Record Requests
As editor of The Teller, I have recently come under fire from members of Storey County Government as well as members of the public on the Virginia City Highlands email discussion group for filing public record requests. During Commissioner comment at the May 7th Commissioner meeting, Commissioner Jay Carmona stated that recent public record requests have cost the county $100,000.
Public record requests are an essential tool for seeking facts about how our government is run. Without free and unfettered access to our records, documents and effects, our government can operate in virtual secrecy. With his commentary and actions, Commissioner Carmona is trying to build a moat around the county to protect itself from the light of day. He claims to be “all for transparency”, but it appears as if the transparency he wants is the one of the County’s construction.
Two Full-Time Employees Required To Process Requests from Two People
Carmona stated Comptroller Hugh Gallagher gave him the information and said the requests came from “essentially two people”. He later named the two vexatious culprits as Sam Toll and Nicole Barde. Commissioner Carmona is not a reporter and may not be accustomed to checking his information before sharing it with the public. Regardless, he was shown that if his statement was factual, the county would have two full-time employees whose sole job description was filling public record requests.
Commissioner Carmona also stated he requested a list of requests for 2018 and 2019 and would report back when he had such information. As of today, he has not provided any information to back up his claim.
The Price of Eternal Vigilance Is Not $100,000, Not Even Close
In January of 2018, I began compiling a database of public record requests. I am releasing them here for several reasons. The first is to dispell the notion that somehow I singlehandedly cost the county $100,000 in vexatious requests. As you can see from the list below, only four of the 54 requests filled took what I estimated to be more than the time (30 minutes) allotted by the Nevada Revised Statute that covers Public record requests.
I canceled two requests specifically because they would require an exorbitant amount of time to fulfill due to the lack of computerization of county records. I spent three and a half hours in the Storey County School District’s office doing the work so they didn’t have to. In crafting my requests, I have been careful to balance the time required to fulfill the requests and the information the requests will reveal.
Public Records Belong To The Public
It is important to understand that the records that any government agency maintains are ours. They belong to the public. People who think the public should somehow be penalized for wanting to look at these books have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a Republic is and what it costs to maintain it; Eternal Vigilance.
It might interest readers that of the 17 requests filed in 2019, only three have been filled. This is consistent with the increased stonewalling engaged by Storey County. Several requests were not responded to within the time period required by NRS. Two of them, both submitted to Commissioner Lance Gilman, have not been acknowledged. Had AB287 been enacted into law at the time of the requests, Gilman would owe me nearly $40,000. All the remaining requests are stalled inside the grinding wheels of the County.
Public Record Requests filed Since January 1, 2018
54 pages, will take a moment to load. Click on the down arrows to view the records. Some of the text is cut off on some of the email correspondence. If you would like to see the complete correspondence, send me an email wth the request number.Public Record Request Database_1