A vocal critic of Pasco's plan to annex the Franklin County doughnut hole area using a new process may not receive some documents he has asked Pasco for until 2016.
The 16 requests Roger Lenk has filed were outlined to the Pasco City Council last week.
Pasco, Franklin County and Franklin Fire District 3 are talking about a planned annexation of about two miles of county land using a process that allows an interlocal agreement among the three entities. Most of the area is between Sylvester and Argent roads and roads 52 and 100.
Lenk, one of about 4,000 residents living in the county doughnut hole, filed requests under the state's Public Records Act with Pasco and the fire district for documents related to the annexation. But he said he received documents from the fire district and other public agencies that the city did not release or include in its exemption log. He sued the city earlier this year, and the lawsuit is ongoing.
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Lenk filed a similar lawsuit against the fire district, but the fire district settled the lawsuit this month, paying Lenk $10,000 and providing him with affidavits of conversations between fire district and city representatives. A settlement does not mean any party admits wrongdoing.
Lenk said the fire district did a good job working with him.
Stan Strebel, Pasco's deputy city manager, said some of Lenk's 16 requests are comprehensive, including virtually every document Gary Crutchfield has touched in his 30 years as city manager. A similar request was made for council members Rebecca Francik, Mike Garrison, Matt Watkins and Saul Martinez and Fire Chief Bob Gear.
Lenk said he made the requests because he is looking for documents related to annexation he feels the city has hidden. The public needs to know about annexation, he said.
Lenk said he already has received many items related to annexation among records he has received so far from the request he made for records Francik has touched.
Because of the size of the requests, Strebel said the city has told Lenk that it will take an extended period of time to answer his requests.
Lenk has been told he can prioritize, but since the city hasn't received a response yet, staff are working on the requests in the order they were received.
While the city clerk coordinates requests, departmental secretaries assemble and identify the documents, and managers, department heads and the city attorney review the documents to see if they are responsive to the request and if the documents or any parts are exempt under state law, he said.
The cost and time to respond to the requests will be significant, but Strebel said the city hasn't put a dollar figure to it yet.
For example, the request filed on Aug. 22 for all the documents Francik has touched likely will be completed around April 27, according to the city estimates. Documents provided under the request will include about 2,000 emails, Strebel said, as well as other correspondence, requests and directives, financial documents and more.
The most recent request Lenk filed with the city on Nov. 17, for documents related to the costs of the 2011 mailing about annexation by Mayor Watkins, will be produced by April 29, 2016, according to city estimates.
Lenk said, "It's an obscene amount of time for getting those documents."
He has asked the Franklin County Superior Court judge in his records lawsuit to look at the timeline for record delivery as well.
It shouldn't take 1,500 days to get some of these documents, especially those that are readily available, like the city's records retention policy.
Lenk said he hasn't responded to the city's request to prioritize his record requests because he expects the city is smart enough to send the simple ones, like the records retention policy.
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