BY DONNA WESTFALL
While my first public records request dealt with the addresses for sewer users, my second deals with the 11.8% expansion component on the waste water treatment plant (WWTP).
A couple of years ago, while still in the position of a council member, I would ask questions and either Charles Slert or Kelly Schellong would combat my questions with responses like, you’ve already asked those questions; and this is a waste of council time. Except that I would never get a straight, complete answer and thus I would continue to ask the same and similar questions over and over and over. Always, always, always I was told that any report was open to me, all I had to do was request a meeting and I could see it.
A few years ago, Wes Nunn and I asked to be directed to the report on the expansion component. Schellong instructed me to request the Willdan documents. We went into City Hall and were shown a long binder by then Public Works Director, Jim Barnts, the Willdan Report attesting to the 11.8%. But questions don’t already present themselves at time of inquiry. It’s taken a few years to digest and mull over the basic theme which was and is, “What the heck is going on?”
Recently I started cleaning out 4 years of paperwork from my home office accumulated while on the city council and began reading and re-reading. I discovered in documents from the lawsuit by the WWTP contractors against me in connection to the sewer rate increase repeal initiative, that city staff in conjunction with Brown & Caldwell, Kennedy Jenks and Stover Engineering actually worked on the expansion figures and that “….. the following facts are true: (a) Willdan Financial Services ia a financial firm, not an engineering firm;…”
As recently as March 4, 2013, I requested during public comment at the City Council meeting, the opportunity to review those reports, and was instructed to do so via the Public Records Request process.
We’ll call this request PRR #2 requesting a meeting with Eric Wier, our current Utilities Director, and keep in mind that he was under Jim Barnts for many years. You might even say that Jim Barnts trained Eric. My repeated request was to go over the reports by the 3 firms (Stover, Kennedy Jenks and Brown & Caldwell) relating to the 11.8% expansion figure on WWTP.
I received a prompt response from the City Attorney. It consisted of 2 pages and I call this response a “NON-RESPONSE,” as you will shortly see. Here’s page one: