To the editor:

The public has a right to know. That is a foundation of our democracy.

As a former newspaper reporter, I strongly believe in transparency and freedom of information.

And as City Clerk, I can assure you that our office does everything possible to comply with ALL legitimate requests for public information.

I also believe that the taxpayers have the right to know that these requests cost staff time and taxpayer money.

Here are two examples:

A public records request dated 1/15/2019 required 289 hours of dedicated staff time to complete. The cost to the taxpayers for fulfilling this request was $27,514.02

A second public records request from the same individual dated 3/14/2019 was completed in early June. This request required 48 hours of dedicated staff time, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $4,000.

Our mayor and council and our citizens need to know these figures… especially when they involve voluminous requests for any and all documents, rather than requests for specific information. For example, just one of the requests I mentioned totals more than 18,000 pages.

Our citizens also need to understand the difference between legitimate requests for public information and voluminous, blanket “fishing expeditions” like those cited above which cost taxpayers thousands of dollars every year.

I want to thank our Deputy City Clerk Nicole Wheelwright and other city staff who work very hard to fulfill all these requests.

Steve Mehlman, Beaumont City Clerk

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(9) comments

SoCalSteve

Libi claims that the city clerk and the city council are "taking a stand against public records requests"? That is a LIE. Here's what I said: "Our office does everything possible to comply with ALL legitimate requests for public information. I also believe that the taxpayers have the right to know that these requests cost staff time and taxpayer money." For example: "A public records request dated 1/15/2019 required 289 hours of dedicated staff time to complete. The cost to the taxpayers for fulfilling this request was $27,514.02." (bet you can guess who filed this request). Here's what Libi does NOT tell you about that request, which amounted to a total of more than 18,000 pages: In order for those pages to be released, they must first be REDACTED. That means a staff person must go through every one of them and delete private, personal information (like individuals' addresses, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, etc.) which cannot be released to the public. Of course, Libi would have you believe that the Tooth Fairy can come in and redact all the information from 18,000 pages for free. LOL.

Libi Uremovic

'...As a former newspaper reporter...' mehlman's 'job' was democrat propagandist ...

SoCalSteve

Another LIE.

Libi Uremovic

'...Our mayor and council and our citizens need to know these figures...' they just passed a budget that did not include any mention of the city clerk's office ... maybe the city council need to hire honest, qualified staff ..

Libi Uremovic

'...Deputy City Clerk Nicole Wheelwright...' she's has a high-school and was gifted a $100,000/year job with the city because he daddy was a dirty cop - beaumomt gave her shelby hanvey's position because they knew she would be just as willingly incompetent and corrupt as shelby was ,...

SoCalSteve

You are one of the most twisted, vindictive people I've ever met. You should thank God that public employees like Nicole and Kari Mendoza are not able to sue you for libel. If they could you'd be sleeping in the street.

Libi Uremovic

the question is why? with all documentation not electronically transmitted; why does it costs the city of beaumont thousands of dollars to fill a public records' request when it cost other government agencies nothing to process a public records' request ... what mehlman doesn't know - because beaumont's city clerk's office is nothing but a charade - is that the city clerk's office is supposed to be recording all government documentation .... filling a pubic records' request should be a simple as opening a file and emailing the requested information to the taxpayer.... other government agencies fill public records' requests in hours or a couple days at the most - only horribly corrupt government agencies like beaumont can't fill public records' request - which is a big red flag that your government agency is corrupt ...

Libi Uremovic

'...A public records request dated 1/15/2019 required 289 hours of dedicated staff time to complete. The cost to the taxpayers for fulfilling this request was $27,514.02...' that's not information a city clerk has - so where did mehlman get this information? did mehlman submit a public records' request, or is this propaganda being published by the city of beaumont with mehlman as the facilitator - as he has been for the past 4 years ...? PRR: Copy of Mehlman's public records' request asking for the cost of two (2) public records request. All documentation and communication regarding Mehlman's information for every Elected and/or Appointed Official. 'All documentation and communication includes, but is not limited to emails, meeting notes, inner-office correspondence, letters, and any other forms of communication that resulted in Mehlman receiving information on the cost of a pubic records' request.

SoCalSteve

"That's not information a city clerk has?" LOL. Where are public records requests fulfilled, genius? That's right, the City Clerk's Office. Of course, we know the amount of staff time it takes to fulfill these requests. But Libi wants to make another fake "conspiracy theory" about this. Good luck, hon.

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