LETTER: Public requests reflect lack of trust in government
Dear SeaTac City Council,
It was brought up in council comments at the end of the meeting on 12/11/12 that Councilmember Gregerson and Mayor Anderson support efforts/position of the AWC (Association of Washington Cities) to reduce, limit, or otherwise curtail the public record requests that are harassing or otherwise costly to taxpayers by changing the statute.
The increase in public records requests are a reflection of the trust (or lack thereof) and the not so transparent actions of elected and other government officials. In other words you have brought this on yourselves.
Case in point:
The city manager stated in his final comments in above noted meeting that the $17,000 salary to a single individual was legal and transparent. Legal? Yes (the SeaTac City Council changed the law in 2009 to allow such increases with NO caps). I was there and warned against it.
Transparent? No. The email/s granting the increase/s were marked by the city manager "Strictly Confidential." How transparent is that? The documents were sent to me anonymously (and of course distributed) so obviously someone else in the city felt this was inappropriate.
What is harassment and who will determine it? Should history be any gauge, chances are good the persons who will make these decisions will be the ones under scrutiny and/or their political allies. As far as costly, this is price of doing business where no code of ethics exists in our city and I doubt some of our officials (here and elsewhere) can even spell the word.
Without the public records requests many of us would not have known what our officials really think of the citizens they serve or the actions that have been taken against them in the background. A Council member or two comes to mind and they know who they are.
So City Council/public employees, here's a better idea. Change your behavior and do not mess with the law. We should be able to trust you, public records should be public and/or posted, and there should be no contention or delay in providing these records.
Computer memory/capacity is no longer an issue. From my singular standpoint, it's a pain in the backside to fill out those forms anyway, lets save a few trees. Your website can be used to accommodate many requests (unless you like hiding stuff). It is really in your hands to regain the trust of myself and other citizens and the PRR requests will drop off accordingly from all citizens.
Thank you for your service to our city.