.to: Theresa Gutierrez, City Clerks office
I am deeply troubled and perplexed that our IT staff either refuses or is clueless on how to download the Citizen Connection database files into simple readable comma delimited or fixed field ASCII text file.
Until the IT department decides to comply or are persuaded to do so by city management, it appears that the city clerks office will have no viable way to redact any sensitive information that may exist from the file and my FOIA request will have to go uncompleted .
Readable (simple English) fixed format ASCII data files, or CSV files are used in all professional IT departments because its usefulness in passing data between colleagues and programs. In addition, they are a prudent way for the city to archive your data for future use, as they are not dependent on changes in computer architecture or the fate of a particular software package.
It is very troubling to hear that our IT personnel do not know how to do this task and shakes my confidence in their competency. If on the other hand they are just refusing to comply with FOIA, shame on the city administration for letting this occur and continue.
Theresa, thanks for your efforts;
Gutierrez, Theresa via bounce.secureserver.net
8:49 AM (23 hours ago)
to Pat, Robin
Sorry for the delayed response on Friday. I was out of the office. Please see the response below from our IT Manager, James Hicks. Attached is a glimpse of the CSV file that IT provided to me. Is this more of what you are looking for?
from: James Hicks
I will provide a CSV file as he requests, however it will not be any more user friendly for you to look at and redact.
I’m assuming he might have access to SQL and that is why he is requesting the CSV file so that he can import it directly into SQL and query it as he wishes. But the fact remains the same – the data must be reviewed and redacted as appropriate prior to providing it to him.
I have attached the CSV file to this email.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2015 11:28 AM
To: Gutierrez, Theresa
Subject: Citizen Connection Dataset
The snippet of data you provided within your recent email appears to be part of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet formatted file with some improperly truncated fields belonging to the Citizen Connection program. So it comes as no surprise that you are having difficulty reading that file.
There is no way that the Citizen Connection program is using an Excel spreadsheet to store its alphanumeric dataset. Service desk type programs normally use some type of SQL database server to store its data.
Excel excels with numerical data but not alphanumeric data, its storage and the many permutations of analysis you might require to uncover any patterns, trends or misnomers in numeric data. Also, Excel is a superb tool when utilizing a few numeric spreadsheets at a time, but when you begin to scale up the size of your numeric data, for instance with a government dataset, Excel begins to creak under the strain. Nevertheless, the Citizen Connection files are alphameric and not numeric thus must be using a MSQ type server for storage
At this time I have no reason to believe anyone in the IT office is purposely trying to obfuscate the data to make your task of redacting any confidential info more difficult and time consuming and my task of importing the file more cumbersome. Perhaps that file originated from an intern in the IT office with shallow experience that may need a little more re-training on importing and exporting databases.
Kindly inform me of what type of database server the city is using to store the Citizen Connection data, and I will gladly forward the city a step by step instruction on how to export those files to a comma delimited CSV file format for easy reading by your office.
Thanks for your efforts;
On Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 3:53 PM, Gutierrez, Theresa <email@example.com> wrote:
> Good afternoon Mr. Nolan,
> I have received your records request in regards to the database for
> Citizen Connection. In reviewing the report pulled from out IT Dept.,
> it will take more than 5 + hours to redact. This report is very
> difficult to read. I have attached the first 10 inputs of the report.
> Unfortunately, this is not a very “user friendly” report (but the only
> one we can pull). Please let me know if you would still like to
> continue with this request. My contact information is listed below.
> Theresa Gutierrez
> City Clerk’s Office
> City of Port Orange
> 1000 City Center Circle