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items tagged with Scott County

The Cost of Freedom of Information
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Editorials

2014-02-05 16:12:29

Late last year, I published a commentary on the questionable policy implementation by the Scott County Board of Supervisors, at the request of staff, to indiscriminately destroy e-mails more than three years old, beginning January 2, 2014 (RCReader.com/y/email1).This new policy was implemented in the wake of Assistant County Administrator Mary Thee issuing a memo to county employees about the increase of public inquiries and litigation requesting e-mail messages.

In the spirit of practicing what I was preaching, namely getting one’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in before the January 2 date (despite the county administrator extolling that her staff has been practicing said deleting for some time), I submitted a FOIA request about a topic this paper has covered more extensively than any local news outlet: the Scott County Emergency Communications Center, a.k.a. SECC911. (See RCReader.com/y/foia1 and RCReader.com/y/foia2.)

Keep in mind that the SECC911 project is important because it was sold to the taxpayers as a cost-saver, only to have its costs more than quadruple the original estimates, ballooning to more than $20 million. And the entity that was created under a 28E, or “emergency services” statute, is made up of un-elected appointees, who possess unlimited, or un-capped, taxing authority. I am still amazed at how few people are familiar, let alone concerned, with this black hole that flies completely under the radar. And, lest we forget, years later we still don’t have a consolidated 911 dispatch service.

This request was e-mailed to the Scott County Board of Supervisors as well as Administrator Dee Bruemmer. Below is the text of that request, and the response from Assistant County Attorney Robert Cusack. For those paying close attention, yes, Cusack is the son of William Cusack, one of the supervisors this FOIA request was directed to.


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County Supervisors Rubber Stamp E-Mail Destruction Policy
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Editorials

2013-12-23 19:30:56

On December 19, the Scott County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt the following language for the information-technology (IT) policy for county staff: “The IT Department will maintain a copy of all e-mails sent or received for a period of three years from the date in which they are sent or received. Records may be retained for a longer time period if it is subject to a litigation hold.”

A day earlier, I published an open letter to the board asking it to defer action. (See sidebar.) At the meeting, I was allowed to address the board prior to the vote, and the 14-minute audio recording of that exchange is available below.

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Prior to the meeting, I had phone conversations with Chair Larry Minard and supervisors William P. Cusack and Carol T. Earnhardt. On these calls, it was explained to me that “all the important e-mails will be saved.” When asked about details – such as who will be determining what e-mails are important – the answers varied from department heads to staff to one or two county attorneys. When pressed what the criteria were for retention past three years, the answers included “We just have to trust staff to know what to do” to “The frivolous e-mails will go.” The policies of the State of Iowa and the City of Davenport were cited several times in these phone calls and at the meeting, but no particulars were given. The party line was that these entities destroy old e-mails much sooner than the county was proposing.


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Time for New Blood on Scott County Board of Supervisors
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Editorials

2012-10-25 11:47:30

There are two Scott County Board of Supervisors seats up for grabs in this year’s election. Voters who want a supervisor who actually supervises and reads the materials being presented prior to a vote would do well to give Jesse Anderson’s candidacy some serious consideration, regardless of your political affiliation. With experience and age, wisdom and knowledge should logically follow. Not so with the Scott County Board of Supervisors and how it has conducted business over the past several years, especially relative to big issues that impact all taxpayers in Scott County.


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Board Candidate Questions County Energy Audit
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Letters to the Editor

2010-10-13 13:34:04

What do Scott County, Iowa, and Chicago have in common?

Not much, except that a company from Chicago is about to get a $160,000 contract paid for by Iowa taxpayer dollars.

For what, you ask? An energy audit on the county’s eight facilities – including the brand new, state-of-the-art Scott County courthouse and jail.

Why does a two-year-old multi-million-dollar facility need an energy audit?

I doubt it does. However, the county had secured some grant money (a.k.a. Iowa taxpayer dollars), and when they found out the audit was going to cost less than expected on the two buildings that were originally slated for, they decided to spend the rest because they thought it was better to find a place to “spend, spend, spend” instead of patting themselves on the back for what could have been tens of thousands of dollars of savings to the state.


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