2014-03-08 / Editorials & Letters

Public records get very expensive

Published by Impact Publications • Copyright © 2014 Buckeye Lake Beacon

Editor:

This letter is to continue exposing Licking County’s special kind of bullies...Good Ol’ Bullies (GOB’s) who come up with all kinds of excuses to keep PUBLIC records from the PUBLIC...the people who pay their salaries!

Following in the steps of Dog Warden John Silva, several employees in the Licking County Human Resources Department now have stopped emailing public records to me and they, like Silva, say that I have to drive to Newark to pick up paper copies! One admits she previously emailed records to me but... as a “courtesy”. She also claims that she would have to redact (delete) information that is not subject to disclosure and then copy that record with the redactions claiming the copy (with the redactions) would be “creating a new record.” She uses this as a reason to stop emailing records to me .

But another HR employee contradicts that, stating that they are required to keep a copy of the record with the redactions for their files! She then EMAILS the record to me but says I still have to pay the $1.35! Clearly they have either A. Not taken public records training; B. Weren’t listening; C. Have something to hide; D. Don’t care; or E. All of the above! They can only charge “cost” (but not employee time) and it costs NOTHING to send an email. AND, once established that they CAN email, I believe they have to send them via email if that’s how I want them!

On Feb. 10, I asked that a copy of the surveillance video (which is public record) at the dog pound be copied onto a flash drive or memory stick. My request sparked quite an interesting reaction from more GOB’s including Assistant Prosecutor Mark Zanghi.

On Feb. 13, Commissioners’ Clerk Bev Adzic said my request would cost me about $342, claiming they have to hire someone to set up a monitor in the hall (like they did before) for me to be able to view (and get a copy on a memory stick or DVR) the video. She attached an estimate from a private company for a maximum of 4 hours (2 hours take down time and 2 hours archive record and tear down time). Viewing time would be charged at $80 per hour. I told Adzic I would pay $342 for a copy of the video, even though I didn’t think it was fair. When I asked about the status of my request on Feb. 20, she said she “passed this request on to parties better qualified to respond.” The next day I received a letter from Assistant Prosecutor Mark Zanghi.

Zanghi’s letter was, in my opinion, a feeble attempt to explain why he thinks they can charge me for having to hire someone outside the county to make a copy of the video. His letter included TWO estimates from outside companies to copy the video tape. It would cost me $475 just to VIEW the tapes; $536 for a copy of 24 hours of video; and $12,000 to copy the hard drive! Yes... TWELVE THOUSAND dollars for a copy of the hard drive! This estimate states that it will take 1,000 (one thousand) CD-R’s to copy the hard drive! Does anyone even use CD-R’s any more? If that is the cost they are charging ME then that is also the cost the county will have to pay if they need that information. What a serious misuse of our tax dollars! I stand firm on my belief that there is something on the video that they don’t want me to see especially since knowing that Jon Luzio is back (as a volunteer). I pray he is not assessing dogs.

While it appears that Silva is working diligently to make people believe the pound is something it is not, he’s not the only one creating a false persona of the pound. A pound volunteer purposely started a conflict when she made FALSE accusations about a local humane society, claiming the “pound” was the only facility that would help an injured stray dog. (By law, the pound HAS to take in a stray dog.) This volunteer continued providing FALSE information, commenting she had been talking to Silva directly! Silva nor the volunteer were involved in this situation and should not have commented on something they knew nothing about. The dog appeared to have a compound fracture of a hind leg and there were lots of people and other agencies ready to help this dog!

Before the evening was over, we found the dog’s owners. They had been looking for this dog for a little over a month. This could have had a tragic ending. I believe the pound would have euthanized this dog.

Since Silva took over, the pound only takes about one third of the number they used to take (they only take stray dogs now) and so they don’t euthanize as much. However, between Jan. 25 - Feb. 28, 2014, three pit bulls were picked up in Buckeye Lake. All three were euthanized.

Although Ohio law no longer automatically deems a pit bull as vicious, that is not necessarily the case at the pound. Most dogs are given a name at the pound. Pit bulls only get a number. Unless they are redeemed by their owner, a pit bull’s chances of coming out of our county pound alive are slim to none! Please make sure your dog (whatever breed) is wearing a current license (that will buy him more time at the pound), is microchipped AND wearing an ID tag. Your pit bull terrier may be a family member to you but Silva’s Law keeps Licking County from truly moving forward.

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

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