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Sunday, September 18, 2011

My 9/12/11 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of CCS


Freedom of Information Act Request by Dawn Schaller
sent via email to CCS 9/12/11
This is my newest Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  A good portion of what I am asking for was documentation that the district failed to supply to me (although requested) from previous FOIA requests, but some is new and being requested based on recent school issues or questions opened up based on what I was supplied from previous FOIA requests.  Please provide what I am requesting below that is in red, bolded and underlined:
1)      Complete documentation (any and all backup documents and all documents signed) for any decisions made or documents signed by the President of the CCS School Board that was not voted on in a public session by the School Board since 05/01/09.
2)      Consolidated board feedback on the Berkley Operating Procedures that Mrs. Lieblang provided to Steve Hyer.
3)      From the “Total salary and a description and cost of each and every fringe benefit in the compensation package” for the superintendent and each employee of the district whose “Medicare Wages” exceeds $100 K from the district “Transparency Reporting” on the district website–
a)      Need the actual “Medicare Wages” for the people on the report as the State of Michigan instructions for Transparency reporting found here mandate: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Budget_Transparency_Reporting_327912_7.pdf   The Michigan Transparency reporting instructions mandate: 
(1)   g) “Employee Compensation Information” Provide a report of the total salary and a description and cost of each and every fringe benefit included in the compensation package for the superintendent of the district or intermediate district and for each employee of the district or intermediate district whose salary exceeds $100,000 (e.g. a pdf file). For purposes of this reporting, salary will be defined similar to that reported as Medicare wages on the employee’s prior year W2. This data must be all inclusive and should be data from the most recently completed year for which they are available (NOTE: the total compensation package must be fully disclosed).”
4)      Please provide a report showing the “Medicare Wages” for all CCS employees for the most recent year (either 2010/2011 fiscal school year or 2010 calendar year, however the data is kept).  This should be a simple report pulled off the computer.
5)      Please provide a report showing the base salaries and/or hourly salaries for all district employees for the 2011/2012 fiscal year as I received last year.   This should be a simple report pulled off the computer.
6)       “Current Complete District Organization Chart”.  I still have not received a complete Current District Organization Chart as mandated in Policy 1230.01, titled, Development of Administrative Guidelines" that I requested on two previous FOIA requests (the first one being requested 3/17/10).  Policy 1230.01 states, "The Board of Education delegates to the Superintendent the function of designing and implementing the guidelines, required actions, and detailed arrangements under which the District will operate. These administrative guidelines shall not be inconsistent with the policies adopted by the Board. The Superintendent shall maintain a current organizational chart to which immediate reference can be made by the Board or any employee of the Board”.  It would be a violation of policy for the document not to be completed.
7)      A copy of all documentation, including, but not limited to, all POs, PO alterations, account codes charged, quotes, bids, invoices, comparison bids, all PO backup documentation, all information on the bid process (advertisement, bids received, and bid comparison), and Board BAR where the contract was discussed and approved.  If no bid, not put out to bid, and/or no Board BAR, an explanation for why these purchasing policies were not followed for the following  :
a)      Check 84432, 10/9/08, Arizona Saddlery of Clarkston, $140.00
b)       “POH Medical Center”.  In a previous FOIA request, I requested “all bids, approvals, etc. for the "athletic trainer services" under POH Medical Center”.  I did not receive any information on the bidding, nor approval processes for this contract, nor a copy of the contract.  The amount of the annual contract was $40,625.00, which is well over the “$20 thousand something” that is the current trigger point for going to bid, and having to be approved by the Board of Education. 
8)      "Lighting Upgrades Project".  In a previous FOIA request, I asked for the complete bid package, but did not receive the “detailed scope of work” from the original bid (although I did receive it from the change order).
a)      I still need the original contract signed by the winning bidder, Midwest Illumination.
b)     I still need the “detailed scope of work” from the original bid.  I already have everything else I had requested from the original bid.
c)      I still need the explanation for the multiple versions of the bid sheets.  There were five different companies that bid the job and there was one bid sheet for four of the companies and multiple bid sheets with different amounts for the winning bidder, “Midwest Illumination”.
9)      "Pro-Tech Lighting". “New web server", delivery, and set up at CHS, paid on two checks, check 85250 on 11/6/08 for $18,792.00 and balance paid on check 85817 on 12/03/08 for $2,088.00 (total of $20,880.00).  In a previous FOIA request, I asked for competing bids and evidence that it went out to bid or was approved by the board, but I received nothing in regard to that request. 
a)      Please prove that this did go out to bid and was approved by the board by supplying bid notice, received bids, and board meeting BAR.
b)     If not put out to bid and not approved by the board, please explain the justification for not doing so (against purchasing policy that mandates both requirements).
10)  "Elementary School Irrigation Systems" from 2006.  In a previous FOIA request I requested a great deal of information from the district on this contract and received very little information back. 
a)      I still need the “detailed scope of work” in the original bid package that I was not given previously,
b)     I still need the complete bids from all of the bidders (I only received the bid comparison sheet),
c)      I still need all of the purchase orders and payments against both the original contract as well as for any and all change orders paid to the contractor,
d)     I still need business justification for making the change order that was given to Progressive Irrigation a change order instead of putting the business out to bid as a separate contract.  The base contract was called, “Elementary School Irrigation Systems” and was for irrigation system jobs at six of the elementary schools, but the “change order” was to install irrigation systems for nine sports fields at the middle school and the junior high. 
11)  “February 2010 National School Boards Association (NSBA) FRN Conference”.  The district sent three board members to the 2010 FRN Conference - Steve Hyer, Cheryl McGinnis and Barry Bomier.  Yet I found: 
a)      There was no flight expense charged against the district purchasing card, nor an expense reimbursement request for the trip submitted by Barry Bomier, nor Steve Hyer.  I understand that Mr. Bomier works in the Washington DC area frequently, so he may have been in DC on business and did not incur flight expenses.  
(1)   Did the district pay for Barry’s flight to Washington DC?  If so, please supply a copy of the expense and show where it was paid.
(2)   Did Mr. Hyer attend the conference and if so, did he submit expenses to be reimbursed for the February 2010 FRN conference?  If so, please supply a copy of the complete expense claim with receipts.   
b)      I found that the district paid for the flight expenses of $209.20 each against the January 2010 purchasing card for Steve Hyer, Cheryl McGinnis, and also Kyle Hughes.  All three of the flight expenses were charged against the Board of Education’s “conference/registration” account.
(1)   Please supply the business justification for sending Kyle Hughes, who is a high school teacher in the district and not a Board of Education member, to Washington DC at that time.
(2)   Please supply the business justification for charging the flight expense for Kyle Hughes to Washington DC to the Board of Education’s “conference / registration” account.
(3)   Please supply the invoice/documentation for the $911.44 bill for Hilton Hotels in Washington DC charged against Heidi McClain’s purchasing card on 2/5/10 that is on the March 2010 JP Morgan Chase purchasing card bill showing it is for the hotel charges for the FRN conference.  If that documentation includes a room for Kyle Hughes, please provide the business justification for charging the Board of Education’s “conference/registration” account for that portion of the bill.
12)  Regarding “Steve Hyer’s expense report for the 2009 FRN conference trip”, please provide a business justification for the district to pay for the expense charged for a cab ride to the “Chinese Consulate”.
13)  On # 7 of my one of my previous FOIA requests, I asked for all expense information related to any individual Board of Education member”, whether the expense was related to Board business or any other capacity related to the district including clubs/activities, including all individual statements, expense reports, quotes, conference documents, and detailed receipts for the period June 2008 to May 2010 including:
a)      All purchasing card charges incurred on the board member’s behalf,
b)     All reimbursed expenses,
c)      All expenses paid out of district purchase orders on the Board member’s behalf, and
d)     Any other payments made to, or on behalf of all Board members.
e)      What I actually received was just reimbursed expenses claimed on expense account sheets for board attendance reimbursements and a few travel expenses…   I know that all of the board members attended conferences, but I did not receive conference expense documentation for all of the board members.  I also know that many conference expenses were incurred utilizing the district purchasing card for most (if not all) of the board members under Heidi McClain’s district purchasing card, but this information was not supplied to me.  Therefore, I am asking for:
(1)   For fiscal years 2008/09, 2009/10, and 2010/11, copies of all backup documentation for all charges against Board account codes:
(a)   110.1231.3220.098.0000.0000.0000 (“conference registration”
(b)   and 110.1231.3200.098.0000.0000.0000 (“pur serv-travel & expense”
(2)   the cumulative summary revenue and cumulative summary expense reports for the Board’s account codes for fiscal years 2008/2009, 2009/2010, and 2010/2011.
(3)   the cumulative detailed revenue and cumulative detailed expense reports for the Board’s account codes for fiscal years 2008/2009, 2009/2010, and 2010/2011.
(4)   I still want the balance of the information that was not provided to me earlier if not supplied in the other documentation I have asked for here.
14)  As a result of a previous FOIA request, I received the explanation of Doug Slater’s theater ticket purchase” from the January 2010 purchasing card being charged against the “114” account code for “supplies/materials” when he was on a DECA Club trip to New York City as “this is account used for item purchases when not a registration, due, or fee”.  I would like:
a)      a copy of all receipts and transaction documentation,
b)     information on for whom the two tickets were purchased and who used the theatre tickets,
c)      and a business justification for purchasing and charging the district for two Broadway theater tickets while on a DECA trip.
15)  “Two purchases from Net Tech Corporation” ($32,965.00 and $36,345.00 paid in 2009 and 2010) for 24x7x4 hour maintenance service contract on IBM servers and Cisco routers.  From a previous FOIA request, I had asked for a “copy of all documentation, including, but not limited to, all POs, PO alterations, account codes charged, quotes, bids, invoices, comparison bids, and all PO backup documentation” related to those purchases, but I did not receive any information on the bidding process and approval for this contract, nor a copy of the contract.  Therefore, I still need:
a)      All information on the bid process (advertisement, bids received, and bid comparison).  If not put out to bid, an explanation for why it was not done.
b)      Board BAR where the contract was discussed and approved.  If not brought to the Board for approval, an explanation for why it was not done.
16)  All documentation regarding the “creation and maintenance of the CCS district website” including bids, board approvals (if any), POs, PO backup documentation, copies of checks, invoices, and any other financial documentation regarding the school district’s website.
17)  From the “CHS “Parking” 610 account”, from the current or previous financial system I need:
a)      the cumulative summary revenue and cumulative summary expense reports for fiscal years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.
b)     the cumulative detailed revenue and cumulative detailed expense reports for fiscal years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.
c)      the name of the person responsible for the account for both years, where monies are supposed top be applied, and the stated purpose of the account.
18)  From the “CHS “Jungle Run” 610 account”, from the current or previous financial system I need:
a)      the cumulative summary revenue and cumulative summary expense reports for fiscal years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.
b)     the cumulative detailed revenue and cumulative detailed expense reports for fiscal years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.
c)      the name of the person responsible for the account for both years, where monies are supposed to be applied, and the stated purpose of the account.
19)  “Explanation for the splitting of the $262.40 Air Trans flight expense charged by Scott Banks” on 9/18/09 that is on the October 2009 JP Morgan Chase district purchasing card into $165.00 against the “610” high school “parking” account fund and $97.40 against the “610” “video production” account fund.  Please also provide a business reason for the trip.
20)  Detailed check registers from the following months:
a)      December 2010
b)     January 2011
c)      June 2011
d)     July 2011
e)      August 2011

12 comments:

  1. It looks like you are trying to expose the misuse of district funds. You go girl!

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  2. Thanks Peggy! The results should be very interesting... I should receive the results on October 3rd.

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  3. I still have not received my FOIA results. The district is now three weeks (14 business days) past the expiration date of their extension (October 4, 2011. I believe that they don't want a good deal of the information in this FOIA request to become public.

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  4. I still have not received my FOIA results six weeks after the request was submitted.

    The district is now three weeks (15 business days) past the expiration date of their extension (October 4, 2011). According to the FOIA specialist in the State of Michigan's Attorney General's office, the district is allowed a "reasonable" amount of time to supply the information. I believe that six weeks exceeds a "reasonable" amount of time for 250 pages of documents. Therefore, I believe that the district is violation of FOIA.

    I addressed this at the 10/24/11 board meeting and Dr. Rock retorted at the end that the district's attorneys say that the district is not in violation because FOIA does not say how soon documents have to be supplied. However, according to the AG's office, a "reasonable" amount of time is assumed. I guess this must mean that they will supply it when they are good and ready, like when I am 95 years old...

    I believe that Dr. Rock does not want the information I requested to become public.

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  5. I am still waiting for my FOIA documents and it has now been seven weeks (to gather and copy 250 pages). Dr. Rock apparently intends to freeze me out. This is flat wrong and I am contacting the ACLU for their input/action on this.

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  6. Still waiting... It's now been over eight weeks since I sent the district my 9/12/11 FOIA request for what they claim is 250 pages.

    All of my previous FOIA requests (including over 1,000 page requests) were filled (completed) within 15 business days of their receipt. I have now been waiting 47 business days for this one and I have no feedback from the district on when they will provide it.

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  7. It takes a little while to cook the books please be patient!

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  8. I finally received an email from the district saying that whatever they are going to provide me from my FOIA request on 9/12/11 will finally be available after noon on 11/18/11.

    So it will end up being a little over 9 weeks to finally get the info I asked for (estimated 250 pages) on 09/12/11...

    However, if they HAVE "cooked the books", they can probably expect to face fines and possibly spend some time in the Oakland County Jail...

    It reminds me of what's going on with the FBI's FOIA request on Wayne County's current issues... If the data I receive from the district is contrary to any of the information I already have in hand or if they refuse to supply information that is legally "FOIAable", they can expect to be facing FOIA violations...

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  9. Interesting... I just received the district's final cost for my FOIA request. The documents will be available after noon on 11/18/11.

    Number of pages: 585 x $0.10 per copy = $58.50
    Labor: $15.33 x 22 hours = $337.26
    Total cost = $395.76 less credit of $81.50 = Total amount owed of $314.26

    However, they are denying me information per their response...

    I will post their response on a separate post. It was obviously done by an attorney and it proves that the district decided to pay for the attorneys instead of giving me the information that they don't want revealed.

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  10. They decide to pay for irrigation so that the fields look pristine, then ofcoarse you must fertilize, treat for weeds, and lastly mow more, making the grass absoloutly perfect is absoloutly relevant to my childs education! So when the important stuff is done, then they come back to us and try to justify more money? (sinking fund/technology bond). Who is it that sets these priorities? The same people who think 1 person can adequatly sanitize and clean a whole building in an 8hr shift? How delusional must you be to think 1 custodian can clean an entire school in 8 hrs, or how low must the standard of cleaning be? Obviously it takes many more people, much more time along with money they don't have to hire an attorney to dot their i's and cross the t's for them...which should be well with in their job and relatively easy if there is nothing to hide. I commend you for your diligence and courage to shine a lite on this corruption!!!

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  11. These people are slimey and I hate to say I don't think you'll catch them, I think you should, I and MANY MANY others hope you do!!! The board should be intruiged into why the Administration has become combative..... there is an arrogance that seems to say we are not accoutable to you the parent/taxpayer, we know whats best and we don't have to tell you what we have done with your public dollars! A good PR person mite advise against that approach with your stakeholders, unless the mess is already made and you need time to spin it...

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