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 Should the City Clerk Be Made to Live in Ortonville

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PostSubject: Should the City Clerk Be Made to Live in Ortonville   Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:38 pm

The city clerk has not resided in this community despite claiming to look for adequate housing for years. He is not just an employee he is the manager of all city employees.

He is ineffective as a manager as can be seen by recent errors. He claims that he believes in pay equity. Yet he frequently works from home. As a male he should set the example and be at work when others are unable. Instead as the only male in the office he allows himself to work at home. Why aren't the female employees allowed to work at home?

He also is not at work when there is obviously gross ineffiencies as can be seen in our request for information. First, he allowed the employees to take months to produce the records and when he did he claimed that an employee took so much time to reproduce these documents that the cost to the Forums was over $150.00.
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Why Did David Lang charge $150.00   Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:16 pm

In regards to the $150.00 charge made by David Lang one can only wonder at what he is doing?

As Mr. Lang had been dragging his feet in replying to my request for documents and after many months then dropping 4 huge binders in front of me it seemed prudent to, in detail, identify what documents were being requested. In looking over the binders it was apparent that most of the documents originated from computer. Therefore it was simple enough to just request "all" the documents for items that came from a computer. I sent Mr. Lang a letter requesting the computer documents be made available in electronic form. See letter of request by clicking here.

One might look at the list and think that is quite a few items but with a computer it isn't. You see documents are kept in folders. Any good secretary would have all of the documents for a year in a single folder. All one has to do is click on the folder and copy it. Then you paste the copy into the flashdrive. Simple. Takes a few seconds. Why the $150.00 charge?

Mr. Lang has replied to my request with a most amazing letter. In the first place I would like to mention that when Mr. Lang first told me that he would have to make the documents PDF I brought it before the council. (Click here and read about it here in the second from the bottom post.) That would be a time consuming process and totally unnecessary. The council stated that they would look into it and get back to me. The following Friday after the City Council meeting Mr. Lang informed me that they will not have to make the files PDF after all.

Now we read in the letter from Mr. Lang that they made PDF files anyway. Click here for the letter from Mr. Lang.

A comparison of the letter I sent Mr. Lang and his reply is enlightening. In the first place I asked for three things. Item 1 has been taken care of. Item two was a request for "copies" of 98 documents to be found in the 4 EDA binders. I did not ask for PDF files. I had requested those documents to be copies because many of them were obviously not in the city computers or contained hand notes. The third thing I asked for was electronic copies of documents that came from a city computer. These documents were not typed up on some typewriter. They were from a computer and therefore should still be in the computer. How does Mr. Lang reply to such simple requests?

According to his letter Item 2:
Mr. Lang wrote:
"A total of 146 pages were tagged by you. This includes the pages listed on the two sheets of paper attached you your letter. Electronic copies in PDF format of all tagged pages have been place onto your 4MB flash drive."

Did I ask for electronic copies of those documents? NO! Mr. Lang goes ahead and makes them anyway. I had attached two sheets of paper identifying the tagged pages. Mr. Lang only returned to me one page. Click here to see the page. As you can see by looking at the link each page was numbered. It was not difficult to open the book and see the first item being requested and go to the first tag. I counted the pages and the tags to match the list. For Mr. Lang to state that there were 146 pages flies in the face of logic. Common sense dictates that if someone requests documents and they give you an itemized detail of the documents then that is what you copy. If Mr. Lang had a question about some other pages why didn't he email me or call me? It is puzzling that Mr. Lang states that there were 146 pages tagged. If that is true then why did he send me 179 pages of documents? That count doesn't include the meetings and agendas that were requested electronically. Add to that the fact that there are duplicates, blank pages and documents that were requested and tagged and not sent.

For instance a request was made for the duties of the EDA secretary. It was four pages. If you look on the itemized request above item number 46-47-48-49 was for the EDA secretary duties. Mr. Lang has sent me only two pages Click here for page 1. To see page 2 click here. Looking at page one of the EDA Secretary duties on the bottom of the page is a little blue tag. On the tag is written "P. 1-4" That is my notation that there are four pages in a row to be copied. Yet Mr. Lang only gave me a second page. Where are the other two pages?

_________________

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson


Last edited by Lady Hawk on Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:29 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Corrected spelling.)
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PostSubject: Where are the Minutes for the RLF?   Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:27 pm

This is continuing the links to the two documents referenced above in the request for documents and Mr. Lang's reply.

Then there is the matter of Item 3, the request for electronic data.In this we find even more astonishment. Mr. Lang has included that the EDA Revolving Loan Fund committee meetings have all been included. If so then where are they? A cursory review has shown many of them to be just the RLF committee making a recommendation. For Example on February 6, 2008 the RLF Committee made recommendations to the board...to approve Hardware Hank for $20,000. (When you look at the link you will notice that the year, 2008, is not written. I do not know why Vicki Oakes did not put the year on there but none of the minutes from Jan-April have the year 2008 on them. The year 2008 starts appearing on May 7 and continues from there.) Where are the minutes? Who attended? There are numerous recommendations by the RLF but no minutes. Did Mr. Lang withhold the minutes or is it that there are minutes of the RLF that don't exist? I am finding this in numerous places. Recommendations of the RLF but no minutes to back it up?

Another such meeting is on May 25, 2005 to approve the loan to BSAG. Click here to see the minutes of the meeting. Here we have a meeting where three of the five people present are on the BSAG board and they vote? Where are the minutes of the meeting where they discussed it?

Mr. Lang goes on to state that :

Mr. Lang wrote:
"The remainder of the item on Paragraph 3 are accounting information, and currently exist primarily in hard copy only. Please contact me to discuss how best to proceed with providing the remaining information to you."
(emphasis mine)

"Primarily in hard copy only?" Are we expected to believe that? What are they using to do the books in the city office? An abacus and a quill pen? Is this Mr. Lang's idea of transparency in government? It is either on a computer or it isn't. Is Mr. Lang expecting the public to believe that the following documents are not on a computer somewhere in the city? You can click on the following documents to view them. EDA unpaid bills....Account Status.....EDA printed checks....EDA Income Statement...EDA Balance Sheet....Do these documents look like they didn't come off of a computer?

Mr. Lang stated I could contact him to discuss how to best proceed. How is that possible? Every time I call he isn't there and he doesn't reply to my emails. The city is not allowed to just charge $150.00 without documentation. Mr. Lang has to provide documented proof that the actual cost was $150.00. Mr. Lang will have to provide the log of the employee showing what time they started and what time they finished and what they worked on. He will also have to justify spending the time producing these electronic documents that were not requested in electronic form. How can he charge a citizen $150.00 for electronic data that they never asked for?

All this smoke and mirrors doesn't blind us to the fact that while tremendous time and energy is being spent spinning wheels looking through this data there is still the matter of what happened to the missing minutes for January 10, 2008 AND where is the Profit and Loss Statement for the EDA?

There is another peculiar thing about Mr. Lang's letter. It occurred on page two. Why did Mr. Lang send a copy of this letter to City Attorney Craig Ash? Click here to see page 2 of Mr. Lang's letter. Why would David Lang send a copy of a cover letter, in reply to request for documents, to the city attorney? What does City Attorney Craig Ash City have to do with a request for public data? Is David Lang getting advise from Craig Ash on what public data to release?

_________________

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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Zorro
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PostSubject: Re: Should the City Clerk Be Made to Live in Ortonville   Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:48 pm

Lady Hawk
It's apparent that you are being jerked around by those who are supposed to serve. Do you have an idea why? Do you know what they are afraid of your discovering? What is it they are hiding? They have gone to a lot of trouble to avoid performing a simple public function -- providing copies of open meeting minutes or simply making them available for viewing...activities that are ho-hum daily tasks in any normal city office. Charging you $120 is spiteful and unjustified, but I'm glad you called their bluff. I don't have any hope they will put the undeserved money to good use.
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