There’s more sunshine in the county than in the city

Last week I made an identical request for public records from the county and the city. In Montgomery County you send your request to the Auditor’s office, run by Karl Keith, the elected Democrat who is also Vice-Chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. They have a very informative page with all the info you need to fill out a request here: http://www.mcohio.org/government/auditor/public_records_policy.html

I asked:

“I’d like a spreadsheet with the names of all county employees- title and department, home zip code and the street number of their home.
Thank you very much.”

I immediately got an automated reply saying they had received the request. A few days later I got another email clarifying the request:

After reviewing your public records request, further clarification is needed.  Please clarify that the information you are requesting is listed below…

  • Names of all county employees
  • Title and Department
  • Home Zip Code
  • Home street number

Please respond to this email to confirm or clarify if the above criterion is accurate or inaccurate.

Thank You

I said that was correct and thank you. The next day it showed up. Exactly what I asked for.

On the other hand, the request to the city generated this response from Tom Biedenharn, from the city’s office of public affairs. The city FOIA request page is here: http://www.cityofdayton.org/departments/pa/Pages/PublicInformationRequest.aspx

David,

We have completed your request to the extent that we can.  However, according to a previous Ohio Supreme Court ruling, State ex rel Dispatch Printing Company vs. Johnson, 2005 – 106 Ohio St. 3d, 160 (see attached), home addresses of public employees are not subject to Open Records Requests since they do not fall under the definition of a record that “documents the activities” of the organization.  Please find attached a document containing the other information you requested.

Thank you.

Tom Biedenharn
Office of Public Affairs

He included a 24 page PDF explaining why it was none of my business to get the home zip code and house number of city employees. I’m including a copy of it here: Case re public request for employee addresses

And while the response with the list of employees was almost instant- even with going back and forth, he stood his ground.

Please note, that if you are a registered voter in the state of Ohio- anyone, can go to the Secretary of State site and download the voter files, with your full name, address, birth year, gender, political party affiliation, and voting record (if you voted- not who you voted for). Yet, asking where the people we pay to work for us are is private?

Note, I was careful, not to ask for home addresses- just a zip code and a house number. I really don’t care where you live, but I was trying to corroborate something that I think is of major interest to the taxpayers of our county: Who is getting patronage jobs- and how they are controlling elections.

But, that’s the beauty of the Sunshine Laws- I don’t have to explain why I’m asking. The fact that the two government entities treat my request differently is an issue. But, what’s more important is what I found and posted in a previous post:

The “Monarchy of Montgomery County” starts in the BOE and the party central committees – See more at: “The “Monarchy of Montgomery County” starts in the BOE and party central committees”
What I found by cross referencing the two employee lists, with the voter database, with the list from the Board of Elections of who was elected in 2010 to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee- was that of the 361 precincts, 175 are empty, 186 are filled. 84 are people I could identify as either: government workers, elected officials, union heads, former elected officials, relatives of employees, and I’m sure if I had some insiders helping out, we’d have even more. To me, this is a conflict of interest- an EPIC FAIL to running open and honest elections, because in Montgomery County, the parties endorse pre-primary. That’s right, the party central committees, made up of the friends and family of elected officials – the people who can hire and fire government workers, pick a secret subset of these people, to serve on the “Screening Committee” that picks the winners and losers- and oversees the elections.
If you wonder what a “Screening Committee” meeting sounds like- I recorded one and posted it (they were mad) – I just can’t find it right now. Here’s a post that has the written questions: http://esrati.com/answers-to-the-montgomery-county-democratic-party-screening-committee/521/
The one question that always gets asked- “If we don’t endorse you, will you drop out.” Let me ask you, when that’s the question- why have primaries at all?
Is this really how a democracy works?
Do you still have the full trust in your government now knowing that your home address isn’t protected and city employees addresses are? That the party central committees- which only require 5 signatures to run- get to decide who runs in elections, who gets endorsed and most importantly- picks who runs the election itself?
This is nothing short of organized crime.
Want to do something about it? Let’s fill the 175 empty seats- and a flip a few of the others- and stop this “friends and family program.”
Are you with me?
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2 Responses

  1. Lynn January 24, 2014 / 1:44 pm
    is it possible that the city of Dayton doesn’t even know? lol

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