FOIA Request Response…

So another FOIA request responses, and you guessed it denied, denied, denied. This is going back to Feb 5th when Zouher examined the NSP file, and after he did he made the request for around 11 documents to be copied and mailed to him. All agreed, and we waited. One of the documents that we asked for was the council motion, that gave permission to the mayor to sign the contract with the state of Michigan in the first place. When Zouher asked for this they did not have it so he said that’s all right send it with the other things I asked for. Well corporation counsel answered us after close to a month that there is no such document.

Another thing that he asked for was all money spent to date on administrating the NSP program. There are agencies that get paid from the NSP grant to administer the funds and legal firms that work on the NSP program. Denied, basically saying we are asking the city to make a report, but these companies submit their invoices to the council for approval to get paid. Take for example McKenna Associates at the last council meeting they submitted a bill for $2,777.35 for Professional services NSP state administration services rendered Dec 2009.

Professional Services

  • Coordinate with project team on status of NSP projects.
  • Strategize on how to expedite spending of NSP funding.
  • Discussions regarding Military Park neighborhood group and capacity.
  • Attend training on using MSHDA’s OPAL system for project reporting and management.
  • Project planning and management.
  • Assist project team with acquisition and demolition.

So there are people working on administering the program, and they are getting paid to do it. So why if the invoice is there in the city, filed with the clerk’s office, are we getting denied our request, well corporation council does state a rule under the FOIA act, that he claims covers the city. Guess we’ll just have to go to the city to examine the records at a reasonable time as it states in the charter.

Section 18.2Records Open to Public. All records of the City shall be public and open to inspection at all reasonable times.

I think that is a great thing to have so next time we want something we can just walk into city hall during operating hours, and ask to have them open up what we want to look at. One thing is for sure folks never get up from the table until you have everything you want in your hands. Mistake we made for the sake of not making Krissy run back and forth to the copy machine that day, and because they could not find the one document he was asking for they agreed to have everything sent. This was done with a witness, one who is a lawyer, and none too happy at how they are treating himself, and Zouher.

Another example of an invoice submitted to city council, and approved for payment, is from Allen Brothers.

Description: Legal services for NSP project, this one is for $2,025.68

Just in case some of you are wondering like me what MSHDA stands for, its  Michigan State Housing Development Authority apparently OPAL is some sort of operating system, or a program that they use.

We have submitted a new FOIA request, so will let you know how this one goes the FOIA was sent by fax today 3-2-2010 five (5) days to answer, and if they want to extend they can for ten (10) days as is their right under FOIA.


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