The PRR Battle Continues!

I’m beginning to think the City of Spokane really doesn’t want me to have any public documents?

To: Terri Pfister

From:  Brian Breen
Sent: Mon 10/26/15 5:10 AM
To: Terri Pfister (tpfister@spokanecity.org)

Ms. Pfister,

Please find attached the PDF file you provided which contains the redacted emails in question. Also please consider this email an appeal of the redactions made.

I’m sure you are quite aware that the purpose on my Public Records Request is to obtain all the information possible concerning the highly publicized situation involving Monique Cotton and Frank Straub. As you know the City Administrator, Teresa Sanders was deeply involved in that situation making it a conflict of interest and ethical lapse for her to make a decision regarding the redactions, so I would like to request that you as the Public Records Officer find an independent third party to review my appeal. I am aware of my options via Superior Court but in everyone’s interest would like to avoid that if possible.

Will you please update me on the status of the text messages I have requested as well as the other documents I have requested. Also please refer to my email to you dated October 25, 2015 with respect to the Enterprise Vault System Search for the records I have requested and advise me if you are able to come up with a more refined PRR response.

Sincerely,

Brian R Breen

___________________________________________________________________

 

From: Brian Breen
Sent: Sun 10/25/15 11:38 AM
To: Terri Pfister (tpfister@spokanecity.org)

Ms. Pfister,

Thank you for providing the information. It appears with the upgrades to the “Enterprise Vault System” there shouldn’t be a problem mining the data to find responsive documents to my PRR in a reasonable time while at the same time cutting the non-associated documents down to a reasonable number.

http://www.symantec.com/connect/videos/enterprise-vault-11-enterprise-vault-search

Brian R. Breen

From: tpfister@spokanecity.org To: Brian Breen CC: lfarnsworth@spokanecity.org; swilliams@spokanecity.org Subject: RE: Your Public Records Request dated September 5, 2015 (RE: Straub and Cotton) Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2015 00:24:42 +0000
Mr. Breen:

You are correct on the spelling of Hangartner and I had a typo in the name in my response to you. We have reviewed the redactions and we believe we are correct in how we have done our redactions.    Attorney client communications are created when a client communicates with his or her attorney, as well as when an attorney communicates with his or her client. If a client asks a question of his attorney, that communication is protected whether the attorney reads it or not. It is not the reading of the communication by the attorney that makes the communication exempt.  In this specific instance, the communication from the attorney to client is a communication related to providing advice and was not meant to be seen by parties who are not part of the agency.

In accordance with Section 6.5 of the City’s Public Records Request policy, if you wish to appeal a determination to withhold information, you may petition in writing or by email to the City Clerk’s Office for a review of the determination within 60 days of the denial of access.  Please include a copy of, or reasonably identify, the part of the response to which you object.  Your petition will be forwarded to the City Administrator, who will consider the petition and either affirm or reverse the determination within two business days following the City’s receipt of the petition, or within such other time as mutually agreed to.  You may obtain a court review of the denial of your request pursuant to RCW 42.56.550 at the conclusion of the two business days after the initial denial, regardless of any internal administrative appeal.  The complete Public Records Request Policy may be accessed at the following website:  http://www.spokanecity.org/services/documents/prr/.

Sincerely,

Terri L. Pfister, MMC | City of Spokane | City Clerk

808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, WA  99201-3342

509.625.6354 | fax 509.625.6217 | tpfister@spokanecity.org

From: Brian Breen Sent: Friday, October 16, 2015 5:19 AM To: Pfister, Terri Subject: RE: Your Public Records Request dated September 5, 2015 (RE: Straub and Cotton)

“With respect to my September 30, 2015 email to you, and in light of your October 1 email, I wanted to provide additional information as to the redactions of information on the previously provided documents labeled “HR Records – Redacted.pdf” and the attachment labeled “PRR-ATM00276Redaction.pdf.”  The redacted information in these documents consists of privileged communications between attorney and client wherein opinions are expressed and/or include advice sought or given in the course of the attorney client relationship, and the information is deemed exempt pursuant to

RCW 5.60.060(2)(a) (Privileged communications) and Hangarnter v. Seattle, 151 Wn.2d 439 (2004). If you require any further clarification of the redactions made, please let me know.”

_______________________________________________________________________

Ms. Pfister,

In light of ”SANDERS V. STATE” and your claim of Attorney-Client Privilege under what I assume you meant to be Hangartner v. Seattle rather then “Hangarnter” would you please review the redactions you have made. For example in the email from Erin Jacobson to various individuals dated February 27, 2015 (attached) she states “I haven’t looked at this yet” in reference to McCabe’s complaint. If she hasn’t looked at it yet how could an exemption claim of Attorney-Client Privilege be possible. There are a number of other redactions that also need to be reviewed and further clarification provided.

Sincerely,

Brian R Breen

From: tpfister@spokanecity.org To: Brian Breen CC: lfarnsworth@spokanecity.org; swilliams@spokanecity.org Subject: RE: Your Public Records Request dated September 5, 2015 (RE: Straub and Cotton) Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2015 00:38:41 +0000
Mr. Breen:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your October 6, 2015, email below wherein you provide modified criteria for an email search.  I am in the process of working with the City’s IT Department on a new search based on the following parameters (see my question below as it relates to those highlighted in yellow):

1/1/2015 – 9/5/2015

(Cotton AND Fire Department) or (Monique AND Fire Department) or (Cotton AND Park Department) or Monique AND Park Department) or (Frank AND Monique) or (Straub AND Cotton) (Monique AND Condon) or (Spokesman AND Cotton) or (Hatch and Straub) or (Hatch and Straub) or (Graham AND Cotton) or (Graham and Monique) or (Graham and Straub) 0r (Monique AND Transfer) or (Review and Cotton) or (Cotton AND Salary) or (Monique and Pay)

If you feel I have misunderstood the parameters that you would like us to utilize for the search, please advise as soon as possible.  With respect to the above items I highlighted in yellow, did you intend for these to be identical?  If not, please clarify.  Once IT has performed the search, I will advise you of the number of hits returned and the anticipated time frame within which we anticipate concluding your request.   Any returned hits will need to be reviewed for responsiveness to your request and for any exempt information.

As I mentioned in my September 29 email to you, aside from the pending email review, I will follow up with you on or about October 30, 2015, to advise as to what if any additional documents have been located in response to your request.

With respect to my September 30, 2015 email to you, and in light of your October 1 email, I wanted to provide additional information as to the redactions of information on the previously provided documents labeled “HR Records – Redacted.pdf” and the attachment labeled “PRR-ATM00276Redaction.pdf.”  The redacted information in these documents consists of privileged communications between attorney and client wherein opinions are expressed and/or include advice sought or given in the course of the attorney client relationship, and the information is deemed exempt pursuant to RCW 5.60.060(2)(a) (Privileged communications) and Hangarnter v. Seattle, 151 Wn.2d 439 (2004). If you require any further clarification of the redactions made, please let me know.

In relation to your October 1 email, this is to advise that your request has been forwarded to Lt. Mark Griffiths.  I previously relayed that your request had been forwarded for review and compiling responsive records, if any, to staff in the following departments:  Police, Human Resources, My Spokane, Parks, and Mayor’s Office.  In addition, your request was forwarded to City Council members and City Council staff.  Other than the records already provided and the pending email review, I am not personally aware as of this date of any additional responsive records to your request.  However, as I mentioned in my September 29 email to you (aside from the pending email review), I will follow up with you on or about October 30, 2015, to advise as to what if any additional documents have been located in response to your request.

I am in the process of working with Angie Napolitano to obtain additional information as it relates to the text messages that have been provided to you.  If you are not really interested in obtaining the additional information as it relates to Ms. Napolitano’s text messages, please let me know at your earliest convenience.  Otherwise, I will plan to follow up with you with respect to the additional information by October 30.

Sincerely,

Terri L. Pfister, MMC | City of Spokane | City Clerk

808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, WA  99201-3342

509.625.6354 | fax 509.625.6217 | tpfister@spokanecity.org

From: Brian Breen Sent: Tuesday, October 06, 2015 5:29 AM To: Pfister, Terri Subject: RE: Your Public Records Request dated September 5, 2015 (RE: Straub and Cotton)

Ms. Pfister:

As you requested here are some additional search criterion for emails during the time frame I listed.

(Cotton AND Fire Department) or (Monique AND Fire Department) or (Cotton AND Park Department) or Monique AND Park Department) or (Frank AND Monique) or (Straub AND Cotton) (Monique AND Condon) or (Spokesman AND Cotton) or (Hatch and Straub) or (Hatch and Straub) or (Graham AND Cotton) or (Graham and Monique) or (Graham and Straub) 0r (Monique AND Transfer) or (Review and Cotton) or (Cotton AND Salary) or (Monique and Pay)

Please pay special attention to emails to and from the following:

garyg@spokesman.com

jonathanb@spokesman.com

nickd@spokesman.com

addyh@spokesman.com

alisonb@spokesman.com

I believe I have made it quite clear that I am seeking all records regarding the issue involving the transfer of Monique Cotton out of the Spokane Police Department. Also please recall I have specifically requested in those documents that mention Lt. Mark Griffiths of the Spokane Police Department. I also request an explanation of the redactions based on a claim of Attorney Client Privilege. Please recall the I have also requested that any further copies of text messages include the phone identifiers.

Sincerely,

Brian R. Breen

From: tpfister@spokanecity.org To: Brian Breen

CC: lfarnsworth@spokanecity.org; swilliams@spokanecity.org Subject: RE: Your Public Records Request dated September 5, 2015 (RE: Straub and Cotton) Date: Fri, 2 Oct 2015 01:10:28 +0000
Mr. Breen:

I will follow up with you by next Friday, October 9, 2015, on your email below.  I will be out of the office through October 6.  If you have any concerns with your request in the meantime, please contact Laurie Farnsworth at lfarnsworth@spokanecity.org.

Terri L. Pfister, MMC | City of Spokane | City Clerk

808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, WA  99201-3342

509.625.6354 | fax 509.625.6217 | tpfister@spokanecity.org

From: Brian Breen Sent: Thursday, October 01, 2015 10:38 AM To: Pfister, Terri Subject: RE: Your Public Records Request dated September 5, 2015 (RE: Straub and Cotton)

Thank you for your diligence I appreciate it. Please remember my request for emails and text messages from all the individuals I listed, including from private phones that have at any time been used for City business. The text messages that you did send do not identify the phone they were made from/to which is important as well as date and time. Keep in mind also that my request included all interaction between the individuals listed and the Spokesman Review. Please add Lt Mark Griffiths of the SPD to the list of names I provided in my initial records request.

I am working with someone regarding the search criterion and will get it to you ASAP. I will also need an explanation of why the City considers redacted portions of emails subject to attorney client privilege.

Again thank you for your time and diligence in this matter,

Brian R Breen

From: tpfister@spokanecity.org To: Brian Breen Subject: RE: Your Public Records Request dated September 5, 2015 (RE: Straub and Cotton) Date: Thu, 1 Oct 2015 17:17:28 +0000
Mr. Breen:

Thank you for letting me know that I had attached items that were outside of the time frame you requested.  I was attempting to be diligent in providing records that had been compiled to date and realize now that some of the provided records were not within the requested time frame as provided in your request but are records that were compiled in response to other received records requests.

We are continuing to work on your request, and I will await receipt of your refined search criteria in relation to the email search.

Sincerely,

Terri L. Pfister, MMC | City of Spokane | City Clerk

808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, WA  99201-3342

509.625.6354 | fax 509.625.6217 | tpfister@spokanecity.org

From: Brian Breen Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 9:14 AM To: Pfister, Terri Subject: RE: Your Public Records Request dated September 5, 2015 (RE: Straub and Cotton)

Ms. Pfister,

Please understand I consider the records you have provided thus far to be un-responsive to my request in a number of areas. Please carefully review my request as to specifics. It is not surprising that the search criterion the City used resulted in “11,000 hits” I will work on a refined search criteria and provide it soon. I realize the production of text messages is somewhat new to you folks but again please review my FOIA and the individuals described. I am aware that some of the documents you have provided me were also provided to the media, however I am requesting production of documents separate and different from any media requests.

I feel we should be able to work this out as long as every effort is made on the City’s part to be transparent, follow the PRA and subsequent court cases which apply.

Sincerely,

Brian Breen

From: tpfister@spokanecity.org To Brian Breen CC: lfarnsworth@spokanecity.org; swilliams@spokanecity.org Subject: Your Public Records Request dated September 5, 2015 (RE: Straub and Cotton) Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2015 00:12:48 +0000
Mr. Breen:

This is a follow up to my email to you on September 15, 2015, regarding your September 5, 2015, public records request, as well as your follow up email to me on September 15, 2015. Attached for your review is an additional installment of records responsive to your request.

The two documents labeled “IA Report 14-010.pdf” and “IA Report 14-011.pdf” were compiled by Internal Affairs staff.  The records labeled “Cotton Investigation Report…,” “HR-Records…” and “Association Statement(2).doc” were compiled by Human Resources staff.  The next ten attachments were compiled by My Spokane staff.  The attachment titled “confidential-attorney-client-privileged-material…” is available on the City’s website by clicking here (and I have also gone ahead and included it as an attachment to this email).  The zip file labeled “Texts messages.zip” were compiled by Police Department employee Angie Napolitano from her personal cell phone.  Lastly, the Word document labeled “9_15_15 Records Request Straub-Cotton.docx” is a document compiled by the Mayor’s Office.

*You will note that some redactions of information have been made on the attachment labeled “HR Records – Redacted.pdf” and the attachment labeled “PRR-ATM00276 Redaction.pdf.”  The redactions consist of confidential attorney client communications, and these redactions protect confidential communications between an attorney and his/her client.  The information is deemed exempt pursuant to RCW 5.60.060(2)(a) (Privileged communications) and Hangarnter v. Seattle, 151 Wn.2d 439 (2004).  In addition, some redactions of information have been made on the attached IA Reports.  Each of the IA Reports has an accompanying redaction log.

With respect to your request for emails, the City’s IT Department has performed a search in the City’s Enterprise Vault (email storage) system.  The  parameters utilized for the search are, as follows:

1/1/2015 – 9/5/2015

(complaint AND cotton) OR (allegation AND cotton) OR (complaint AND straub) OR (allegation AND straub) OR (transfer AND cotton) OR (complaint AND spokesman) OR (allegation AND spokesman)

This search returned approximately 11,000 hits.  The emails will now need to be reviewed for responsiveness to your request and for any exempt information.    At this time, due to the size of the email review and based on our present work load, we estimate requiring at minimum a one-year period of time within which to perform a review of the emails and to conclude your request.  If additional time is needed, we will advise you accordingly.  Likewise, if we are able to conclude the review sooner, we will let you know.

Before we proceed with a review of the emails, please confirm that the parameters utilized for the search are satisfactory to you.  In the alternative, if you wish to make any modifications in the search parameters, please advise.  We would respectfully request that you get back to us at your earliest convenience, or at least by no later than October 9, 2015, as to whether you are satisfied with the search parameters or whether you have any modifications that you would like made in the parameters.

This is to also advise that we are still in the process of reviewing your request and searching for / compiling any remaining responsive records to your request (aside from the pending email review).  We anticipate updating you on the status of your request by on or about October 30, 2015, and will advise at that time as to what, if any, additional documents have been located.

In the meantime, if you have any concerns regarding your  request, please advise.

*In accordance with Section 6.5 of the City’s Public Records Request policy, if you wish to appeal a determination to withhold information, you may petition in writing or by email to the City Clerk’s Office for a review of the determination within 60 days of the denial of access.  Please include a copy of, or reasonably identify, the part of the response to which you object.  Your petition will be forwarded to the City Administrator, who will consider the petition and either affirm or reverse the determination within two business days following the City’s receipt of the petition, or within such other time as mutually agreed to.  You may obtain a court review of the denial of your request pursuant to RCW 42.56.550 at the conclusion of the two business days after the initial denial, regardless of any internal administrative appeal.  The complete Public Records Request Policy may be accessed at the following website:  http://www.spokanecity.org/services/documents/prr/.

Sincerely,

Terri L. Pfister, MMC | City of Spokane | City Clerk

808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, WA  99201-3342

509.625.6354 | fax 509.625.6217 | tpfister@spokanecity.org

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