Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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North Florida Broadband Authority: After General Counsel's response, FL's Public Record Laws remain the latest casualty

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COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Late yesterday afternoon, January 7, 2013, North Florida Broadband Authority General Counsel, Jennifer Springfield, who has run roughshod over Florida's public record laws since her secret procurement by NFBA Board Chairman Tommy Langford in early 2012, emailed the Observer and took exception to the Observer's recent article, North Florida Broadband Authority: FL's Public Record Laws the latest casualty. Attorney Springfield claimed that she had never received the four public record requests which were sent to her on December 17, 2012, and referenced in the article.

In Ms. Springfield's January 7th email she claimed she was referring to the November 21, 2012 public record requests that were ignored by both the NFBA Chairman, Gilchrist County's Tommy Langford, and the NFBA Vice Chair, Cedar Key's Pat O'Neil. As stated in the article, those requests were sent to each of them because they use their private e mails and personal computers to conduct NFBA government business.

Two weeks later, those requests were forwarded to Ms. Springfield. They were identified by unique numbers: PRR: 12_1121_e-mails.

It is the practice of the Observer to always use a unique reference number to identify public record requests.

Since early in 2012, the NFBA attorneys do not reference those numbers, making it difficult or impossible to discern to what their responses refer.

On January 4th, without any reference numbers, Ms. Springfield wrote to the Observer and claimed that there would be a $280.75 charge for the records requested on December 17th.

The only requests that originated on December 17th were the four requests that were grouped in one correspondence. They were identified this way: Subject: Re: PRR: ref no: 12_1217_audio;sla's

On January 7th, Ms. Springfield claimed that the $280.75 was a charge for the email request that originated on November 21st.

She claimed the charge for the records was based on the NFBA's Dale Richards, a $52,000 a year technical specialist spending 4.5 hours researching the request and Ms. Terri Stevens, who works for Ms. Springfield,  spending 4 hours researching the request. That is Ms. Springfield's complete explanation.

The Glitch

In the Observer's haste to meet deadlines, the email mentioned in the Observer's January 6th article was inadvertently left in the send box, a point well taken by Ms. Springfield in her email correspondence of January 7th.

Ms. Springfield said in her January 7th email, "I never received your December 17th request for the items delineated as “first” through “fourth” below."

Not True

In an email received on December 17th at 10 pm, Ms. Springfield began this way:

Mr. Lilker,

Thank you for your e-message below. As I am out of the state this week and the winter holidays are upon us, NFBA may not be able to respond until after the first of the year, but we will try to respond between Christmas and new year's day.

Thank you, Jennifer

Ms. Springfield's email is available here. It is the same one in the article and the same one she said she never received. It is clearly dated 12-17-2012.

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