On May 6, a FOIA request was filed with the city of Memphis for “copies of all computer, paper, and/or otherwise recorded notes made by any and all veterinarians at Memphis Animal Services from April 28, 2012 through May 6, 2012.” On May 17, in violation of the mayor’s executive order regarding open records and the TN Open Records Act, we received a response that there are no records matching this request but if we had a specific animal ID number we wanted to inquire about, we could do that. This request was filed after a tip was received that there was either no vet present or insufficient vet coverage at the pound for the week in question. I guess that answers that.
On May 8, a FOIA request was filed with the city of Memphis for “copies of any and all policy/protocol changes, updates, additions and deletions made by James Rogers since he took over the interim director position at Memphis Animal Services. This request includes, but is not limited to, e-mails, memos, manual revisions, notes, and recordings of changes to MAS policies and protocols.” On May 17, in violation of the mayor’s executive order regarding open records, we received a response that there are no records matching this request. So that answers that question. No changes made by Mr. Rogers of any kind since taking over as leader of MAS.
On May 10, a FOIA request was filed with the city of Memphis for 24 hours worth of security camera footage for the same cameras previously requested but for May 9 and 10. The request was followed up with numerous pleas for the footage to be protected, since all of the previous requests have been overwritten by the time the city gets around to responding. I anticipated the city would try to charge $800, since the number of cameras and total hours requested were identical to the last request where they tried to charge $800. On May 17, the city responded as follows:
Please see the attached estimate invoice for your requested video footage and verify whether you would like a copy.
Additionally, I disagree with your characterization of the City below as it relates to your video requests. Please note that the issues you have had with your video requests have not been based on any failures of the City to respond timely. The issue has been that your requests for footage were simply made too late. More succinctly, you requested video footage that had already been written over by the time you made your request.
Swell. And while we’re playing Let’s Rewrite History, why not toss in this invoice for $1100?! It’s fun!
This video request was made because I do not feel comfortable with the previous request which was compromised by the city. I wanted to have an additional 24 hour period for comparison purposes. But I think it is outrageous that the city keeps jacking up the fee. What is 24 hours worth of footage going to cost next time – $1400? In addition, the city is in violation of Mayor’s Wharton’s executive order and TN state law regarding records requests. And to top it off, the city used to take screengrabs of Chameleon records and send those to us electronically but has now decided they will pay someone to convert these records to paper and charge us for this unnecessary expenditure. In order to obtain these paper records, someone needs to visit city hall during business hours to pay for and pick up the records.
All of this – the failure of the city to respond within the time allotted by the mayor’s executive order and the state open records law, the ludicrous fee increases, the decision to waste taxpayer money by converting electronic records to paper in order to charge a fee and delay receipt – strikes me as punitive in nature. I believe the city is attempting to hide the pound’s records from the public. We have nearly $600 left in the bank from the contributions made to pay for the last request. I think we need a lawyer.