Denise Turner still struggles to create a working public records policy. It's not like she just started dealing with this issue. Denise has been working on a public records policy since she first came to the city as an assistant city manager.
January 7,2009 the N&R had an editorial titled, City records policy must stress accessibility, accountability. From the article: "As Denise Turner, filling the new position of assistant city manager for communication, works on a public-records policy, her priorities should be access and accountability."
October 2009, Denise Turner released her protocol for public records requests. Her goal was to create the most transparent and responsive system practical for responding to public records requests. Looking back on that now, it is easy to see Denise failed to reach her goal.
Denise has spent tons of hours creating a system that does not work. It was her only major task when she was hired. Public records was Denise's baby. That baby is crying a lot and has a full diaper. A full poopy diaper.
The city's struggles with the release of public records is nothing new. However, since Denise got involved it has gotten much worse and continues to worsen by the day. How long has she been "working" on a public records protocol? The earliest evidence found was 2008. It appears it has been a continuation project since she was hired and the comedy of errors is still going on today.
Google will easily show you evidence of Greensboro public record blunders. The one article I found to be most informative was in the Rhino in 2010.
Feb 2010 Rhino Times: She is in charge of releasing public records, and the system has only gotten more cumbersome since she got involved in developing a policy to release documents that according to state law belong to the public.
It is common for us to see John Hammer complain about public records and criticize the city staff (as he did in the last edition of the Rhino) but even some of Denise's biggest supporters/friends has seen issues with Denise's work.
About one year ago, Nancy Vaughan felt that the system Denise created didn't reflect state law. Vaughan's memo can be seen at Ed Cone's. It was posted on March 13, 2012. Vaughan wrote a memo to council and Denise about a year ago. From the memo: "Denise, I think it’s time for us to revise our 'City’s Protocol for Public Records Request' to accurately reflect state law."
What happened when Vaughan requested a revision of the protocol Denise created? Was it revised? Was Vaughan just kidding? Denise's system actually looks worse than it did last year. Her project declines every year she is here and her salary goes up. Our councils love for Denise is comical.
I have personally seen total chaos when dealing with Greensboro and public records. I have been given information that others, including Nelson Johnson, were denied. I have been told things were not public record when they were. I also have seen requests flat out ignored. I am still waiting on the exact times in which there have been fire investigations that delayed the securing of burnt structures. That will never be acknowledged.
More than a month ago, I asked for copies of lawsuits involving the city and Mitch Johnson. The request was accepted and given the PIRT # 2241. I learned from Roch Smith Jr. that my request for lawsuits involving the City of Greensboro and Mitchell Johnson was closed on March 1, 2013. Roch showed me where the city said my request was closed. He also showed me that the city reported it took them 3 weeks and 2 days to fulfill this request. The city never notified me it was closed and certainly did not give me any of the information I requested.
Let me explain it once more. I make a request. It is labeled Request 2241. The city never gives me any information and I learn from Roch that the request was listed as closed. The city never bothered to do anything with that request except assign it a number and close it in three weeks and two days. They left the information and me out of the equation. I am still waiting for Denise and our awesome city council to figure stuff out.