OH, HEY! A few weeks ago, we told you about suspicions
that the county might be up to its old tricks with regard to NOT doing its public business in the sunshine – you know, keep it in the clouds and make it rain, Dropbox! Well, today comes the news that Organize Now is suing for declaratory relief on the matter after public records requests revealed that – surprise! – somebody's been deleting documents from county Dropbox accounts. We'll cover today's presser on the matter in next week's Happytown, but for now, here is the press release and the actual lawsuit for your perusal. This county doesn't appear to realize that people are watching and transparency means actually SEEING things.
Orlando, FL -- Mayor Teresa Jacobs is refusing to provide her constituents with access to basic Orange County public records. Today, Organize Now, with the assistance of the First Amendment Foundation, filed a lawsuit that seeks immediate judicial relief for violations of Florida’s open government laws.
This lawsuit seeks to answer two fundamental questions: Who has access to the mayor’s Dropbox files, and what are its contents.
“The roadblocks that have been erected so far by Orange County are distressing,” said Barbara Petersen, president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation “Advances in technology should make access to public records easier and cheaper. Instead, technologies such as Dropbox are being used to shield and obstruct access to basic government information. We believe this lawsuit will have statewide implications for how governments utilize this new technology.”
Over the past two weeks, the Mayor’s staff have erected numerous barriers to requests seeking this basic information. A deeper concern, however, is that in the limited release of records so far, evidence exists that documents were deleted immediately after Comptroller Martha Haynie sent a letter to State Attorney Jeff Ashton and again after public records requests were submitted.
“The Mayor has said she would share any and all information related to the Dropbox, yet what little she’s provided so far is rife with deletions and redactions,” said Organize Now director Stephanie Porta.
The people’s business should not be conducted by a shadow government. With this lawsuit, Organize Now seeks to push Orange County’s government back into the Sunshine.