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MDUSD board to discuss Public Records Act request

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, March 11th, 2013 at 3:38 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Today, the MDUSD board will discuss the district’s response to a PRA by Contra Costa Times columnist Dan Borenstein. I am also sending a copy of Greg Rolen’s response to my recent PRA to the board, along with a copy of my response to Rolen.

Here’s Rolen’s response to my PRA, which I received via snail mail today:
 

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceXzNZYW5WU3JBazQ/edit?usp=sharing

Here’s my emailed response to him:

“Dear Greg,

I received the attached response to my Feb. 28 Public Records Act request today. I did not specify a time period for the writings related to the Oct. 3 FCMAT agreement because I want ALL writings related to that agreement. I did specify a time period for my requests related to the district’s CVCHS cost analysis because I do not need to see the documents related to the various cost projections that were exchanged before the charter was approved by the county.

Thank you,

Theresa Harrington
Education Reporter
Contra Costa Times/Bay Area News Group”

Here’s my email to the board:

“Dear Trustees, Since I know you will be discussing the district’s response to a PRA from Dan Borenstein, I am also forwarding you a response I received to my Feb. 28 PRA from General Counsel Greg Rolen, via US mail today, along with my emailed response to him.

I would like to point out that I sent similar PRAs to FCMAT and the Contra Costa County Office of Education. Both of those agencies have already complied with my requests, providing documents to me electronically at no charge. Also, representatives from both of those agencies followed up with phone calls and emails immediately after receiving my requests, to let me know they were working on them.

This is in stark contrast to the general practice of your general counsel. Although my requests always asks for emailed responses, he consistently responds via US mail. He easily could have called or emailed to question the scope of my request, thus preventing needless delays.

It is my hope that district staff will be encouraged to use more expedient means of communication in the future.

Thank you,

Theresa Harrington
Education Reporter
Contra Costa Times/Bay Area News Group”

Do you believe the district should respond electronically to PRA’s if requested?

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  • Doctor J

    Theresa, can you give us an update on what happened at the 5pm “board discussion”?

  • g

    It was LiveStreamed—and the word HOT doesn’t do it justice.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Board voted 3-2 to hire outside attorney to look at records Rolen has withheld from Borenstein, claiming a variety of legal privileges. I also shot video, which I’m uploading to YouTube.com/tunedtotheresa.

  • Wait a Minute

    Gee, I wonder who the two votes against are from?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Trustees Linda Mayo and Lynne Dennler voted against the motion, with Mayo stating that she believed it violated the Brown Act because it wasn’t on the agenda as an action item. Board President Cheryl Hansen said it was permissible, however. Dennler appeared to vote “no” because Hansen cut her off when she called for the vote, while Dennler was attempting to make a comment. When Hansen cut her off, Dennler said: “Well, then I’m going to vote ‘no.’”
    Previously, the board voted 4-1 to direct staff to review its policies related to handling Public Records Act requests, with an eye toward openness and transparency. Mayo voted no, again stating that she believed it violated the Brown Act because it wasn’t on the agenda as an action item. Again, Hansen said it was permissible, because the board was not actually voting to change the board policy tonight.

  • Wait a Minute

    Afterall, didn’t Mayo once try and get Rolen’s contract voted on seperate from the rest of the big 5?

    I guess that vote was just for show Linda?

  • Doctor J

    I couldn’t find it on livestream.

  • Theresa Harrington

    WAM: Yes, Mayo did try to remove Rolen’s contract from those that were being extended in April. Several trustees said they had given Rolen emails in response to Borenstein’s records request that they didn’t consider to be confidential and they wondered why Rolen didn’t release them.
    Dr. J: I’m uploading my videos now, but they take a while to process. The first one should show up in about 2 minutes.

  • Doctor J

    So how did Rolen respond to not producing those emails from the trustees ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    He said they were divided into various files according to the reason they were privileged.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s a live blog of tonight’s meeting: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2013/03/11/mdusd-live-blog-of-3-11-13-meeting/
    Now that the district is livestreaming, I will not videotape the entire meeting.

  • Doctor J

    Where in prior Board minutes does it show that a new position was created for Mildred Browne on “special assignment’?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Good question.

  • Teacher

    Where is live stream.?

  • Doctor J
  • Doctor J

    Theresa, looks like you have some front page stories tomorrow !

  • g

    @12 and 13–I seem to remember a question specifically asking if Mildred was on leave ‘with, or without, pay’ and the answer was that it was ‘without’ pay. I just can’t remember when/where/who asked the question or who gave the answer.

    I am certain though that it never came to an open session board to approve the $100,000.00 plus of doubled costs of a single job of asst supt. What was the “special assignment” and who approved it?

  • Doctor J

    Employees have known their emails were being “monitored” ? Who authorized this “spying” ? Has MDUSD become the CIA ?

  • MDUSD Educator

    @TH10 Rolen had them divided into folders labeled, “Eberhart”, “Whitmarsh”, “Mayo”, “Lawrence” and “”Rolen”- That’s Rolen’s definition of “privilege”. And, letting him go through these documents is a little bit like letting Nixon go through the tapes.

    Mayo, as usual, is channeling the old Eberhart/Whitmarsh tactics i.e whine about supposed Brown Act violations while ignoring your own participation in violations. I wonder what thrill she gets for acting as Lawrence and Rolen’s apologist and front while she is selling the district out.

  • Doctor J

    Did the check bounce to Livestream ?

  • Anon

    I was just going to ask the same thing Dr. J. Or perhaps it is the ineffient way the district handles things :-)

  • g

    Son of a gun! Livestream just cut out! Someone with the cell # call Joe Estrada!

  • g

    It’s still live on KVHS radio FM90.5

  • Doctor J

    What happened on the legal service contracts since Livestream went dark ?

  • g

    Livestream is back up.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Board approved legal services contracts.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s a happy turn of events: I just received this EMAILED response from Rolen to my clarification about the scope of my PRA: “Thank you.”

  • Doctor J