This is an appeal of a constructive denial of my request of a public records request. I cannot even be sure what exactly is being denied because the communication I received from the City Clerk does not specify what his LETTER is responding to.
I have no idea why Mr. Giles continues to be confused as to even the most fundamental aspects of the New York State Freedom of Information Law. I have suggested in the past and continue to suggest that Mr. Giles undergo a course in FOIL 101. The alternative is that Mr. Giles is willfully violating the law. To be charitable, I will operate in the belief that Mr. Giles is not a criminal but merely an idiot.
Despite the clear and otherwise universal understanding of the law, Mr. Giles has once again improperly responded to my FOIL this time not responding via email request MADE BY EMAIL and then refusing to acknowledge or respond to MY email demanding he respond by email to my FOIL request and provide electronic documents at no charge.
Mr. Giles has failed to state even what FOIL request he is responding to (I make many FOIL requests and the responses I get always indicate what a response is responding to, not the case with Mr. Giles).
The law also requires, essentially, that if reproducing the documents can be done on a scanner/copier and if electronic copies are requested (and they always are in my case) then scanned documents (typically as PDF files) must be made and sent to the requestor AT NO CHARGE.
I have asked whether the City of New Rochelle has a scanner/copier and, if so, why it was not used to reproduce the records I seek as required under the law. I have no answer from Mr. Giles at all.
It becomes tiresome to have to bother with Mr. Giles inability to follow a law that is central to his function as the City Clerk. Quite frankly, it is embarrassing to the City of New Rochelle to have such a person in that role. I realize that Mr. Giles is an appointed flunky of the Mayor and not a civl servant and does not report to the City Manager. It is a patronage position in which Mr. Giles provides a daily reminder of why the Civil Service was created in the first place — to prevent people like Mr. Giles from occupying the position he currently occupies.
I would encourage the City Manager to put on the agenda two discussion items for consideration by City Council.
1. Appoint a Deputy Public Records Office. If approved by counsel a COMPETENT, HONEST NON-PARTISAN person should be tasked with the job of fulfilling FOIL request not a political hack. That way Mr. Giles can continue to sit on his brains, collect his overly generous salary and not be disturbed by things like adhering to his obligations under New York State Law to provide public records upon request.
2. As was done with the Civil Service Commission after Beverly SIlverman was involved in financial improprieties (putting her family into a no-show civil service test proctoring jobs) and after Domenic Procopio was caught (by me) receiving Combat Veteran STAR property tax exemptions and STAR exemptions to which he was not entitled, the City Council should AMEND THE CITY CHARTER to make the job of City Clerk a position appointed by the City Manager not the Mayor* at which point Mr. Giles can be replaced with a competent person (and I have a recommendation if the City gets to that point).
From time to time, I publish these sorts of exchanges so the public can be acquainted with Mr. Giles utter incompetence as Records Access Officer of the City of New Rochelle. I intend to do so in this case.
I would prefer not to be required to adopt a hostile tone but I have had too many occasions over the years where Mr. Giles delays for months by lawful FOIL requests in a manner similar to what he is now doing here. These appear to be partisan attempts by Giles, under the direction of Mayor Noam Bramson, to interfere with my reporting news and information to the public and thus a violation not only of the New York State Freedom of Information Law but my civil rights under the New York State Constitution and the First Amendment of the United States both of which Mr. Giles swore to uphold.
I would like the records I sought produced forthwith, in electronic form, at no charge, sent to me as PDF attachment via email.
Publisher and Managing Editor
*The New Rochelle Charter states that the City Council appoints the City Clerk but as a practical matter the position is appointed by the majority political party on City Council. In this case, that is the the Democrats with Mayor Bramson as the de facto leader of both the party and the City Council.