Does Public records requests in Port Orange resemble a scavenger hunt ?

City of Port Orange Public Records Scavenger Hunts


ted0from: Ted Noftall
Manager Harden
Public records requests in Port Orange  bear closer resemblance to a scavenger hunt   than to orderly compliance with Florida’s government in the sunshine statutes.  For it to be otherwise would require the enthusiastic support of your office  and those of your staff  ….  something that is difficult to discern at times.
QLH’s  06-01-2015 response to the Bolerjack Forensic Accounting Report of 05-26-2015 raises several concerns regarding the City’s handling of public records, including possible   suppression and late production  upon request by  the public.
The following questions,  arising out of   QLH’s  response letter  Page 2 Paragraph  5,    IN ADDITION  to the 2 in the e-mail below need to be answered if any of these investigations  are  to have a ring of both competence and credibility.   Accordingly
1)   What  ‘ project file ‘  is QLH referring  when  they state  ” The breakdown of costs is included within the project file for Change Order No. 1. ”  
2)  On what date was this ” breakdown of costs ”  prepared,    and is the City able to  corroborate that date.
3)  Who at the City was given a copy of this cost breakdown  during the ” change order negotiation process  ”  and what was  the approximate date of this negotiation.
4)   If this cost breakdown was part of the City records since early 2014 what explanation do you have for your own internal review  not un-covering  this document  because in your   November 14th 2014  e-mail  you advised   ” ….  it impossible to know the total credit due or received by the City.  We only know the amount of credit received for two specific, relatively small components of the berm construction. ”   

—–Original Message—–
From: Harden, David []
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2014 9:10 AM
To: Ted Noftall; Fenwick, Robin
Cc: Bob Ford; Kennedy, Dennis;; Drew Bastian; Green, Allen; Scott Stiltner
Subject: RE: Dunlawton Drainage Project – Impact of Berm Removal on Recent Flooding
As I have previously pointed out, construction of the berm was not priced out as a separate item in the original bid, therefore it is impossible to know the total credit due or received by the City.  We only know the amount of credit received for two specific, relatively small components of the berm construction.  There may also have been field additions to the project done in lieu of the berm.  I understand that the gross estimate of $100,000 to $200,000 would include extending the berm northward toward Herbert Street.  In addition, construction costs have risen significantly in the last two years, and if a decision were made to construct the berm now there would be new mobilization costs since there is no contractor on site.

5)  If this cost breakdown was part of the City records since early 2014 what explanation do you have for your agent – QLH  not only not producing same in response to my  November 2014 FOI request  but writing as they did  requesting to be paid for their search efforts.

From: Andrew Giannini []
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2014 1:32 PM
To: Fenwick, Robin
Cc: Brad Blais; Marcia Turner
Subject: RE: Public Records Request
We will search our records for the drafts of the change order No. 1.  Please know that our firm must charge for the time spent on this search.   An invoice will be presented which we suggest be recouped by the city from the requester.
The models prepared for the Dunlawton Ave project can be found on SJRWMD website using permit number 40-127-29869-5.  Here is the link.

6)  On what date did the City  provide additional documents for  Bolderjack’s review  after they had started their forensic review,   AND WHEN  will  those more recently found documents be available for public inspection.               .                                            
7)  Finally what explanation has  Bolerjack  provided   for not referencing the QLH’s cost breakdown  in their report  – which QLH asserts  not only was given  to Ms. Bowling on  May 21st  2015 but that was ” discussed at  length with Ms. Bowling ”     AND WHY  as agents for the City was this documentation  supplied by QLH at such a late date relative to the start of the  forensic review. 
Thank you
Ted Noftall
for responsible government  –  2016


david_hardenFrom: Harden, David []
Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2015 2:34 PM
To: Ted Noftall
Cc: Bob Ford;; Drew Bastian; Green, Allen; Scott Stiltner
Subject: RE: So Who Is responsible For What ??

We are continuing to seek answers to several questions regarding administration of the Dunlawton Drainage Project.  As these questions are pursued additional reports will undoubtedly be produced and they will be released to the public.

ted0From: Ted Noftall []
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2015 8:44 AM
To: ‘Harden, David’
Cc: Bob Ford (;; Drew Bastian (; Mayor Green (; Scott Stiltner (
Subject: So Who Is responsible For What ??
Manager  Harden,
While taxpayers are  appreciative to finally receive  the information contained in the just released Bolderjack,  Halsema  Et al,  forensic  review of the  Dunlawton Ave Drainage Improvements Project  their report is incomplete in at least 2 regards   …..  both of which need to be addressed to permit closure of this aspect of  berm’s  deletion.
1)   The final  question  in your  December 9th 2014  memo  instructing  that a forensic accounting review be conducted must be answered unequivocally.  To wit

When Mr. Gianinni  recommended approval of Change Order No. 1 ( Final),  on behalf of QLH,   did QLH have proper documentation to assure themselves,  as representatives of the City,  that Maci Corporation had given the City correct credit for deletion of the berm ?

2)    As between QLH and the Public Utilities  taxpayers need to know who reported to whom  specifically in this arrangement,  AND  how was that hierarchical  relationship codified.   Accordingly

 What are the respective roles and responsibilities of  QLH as the Design Engineers and Contract Administrators,  AND   Fred Griffith  as the Project Manager   in terms of the  specific non-feasant   and possible mal-feasant  actions  disclosed in both the Neff  Report of May 14th 2015  and the  Bolerjack  Report of  May 26th 2015 ? 

Ted Noftall
for responsible government  –  2016

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13 thoughts on “Does Public records requests in Port Orange resemble a scavenger hunt ?

  • June 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    “From: Andrew Giannini []
    Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2014 1:32 PM
    To: Fenwick, Robin
    Cc: Brad Blais; Marcia Turner
    Subject: RE: Public Records Request
    We will search our records for the drafts of the change order No. 1. Please know that our firm must charge for the time spent on this search. An invoice will be presented which we suggest be recouped by the city from the requester…..”
    comment by Hank. QLH with their buddy Allen Green has milked the city tax payers for thousands of dollars. Now they want to nickle and dime a legitimate request for documents. It is part of resisting their cooperation with negative inquiries. Most people in the “we are family crowd of financial special interests” will agree with resisting all these negative inquiries by a few disgruntled citizens in Port Orange. This attitude will not stand. Ted, let me know how much the bill is for keeping track of these robbers and I will help you pay the bill.
    City of Port Orange, my pitch fork is ready. Enough is enough from you milking, robbing parasites. — hank

  • June 9, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    If i am reading between the lines correctly it looks like old fast and loose QLH is about to be caught red handed creating fantasy accounting accounting summaries after the fact.
    It anyone believes old Leo ‘honest as far as you can throw-em ‘ Masci who would gut Mother Theresa for a dime gave up $ 2,800 to the City in QLH’s fantasy fiction accounting I want you to know I have a money making ski resort in the mountains just south of Orlando that is for sale with only 15% down.

  • June 9, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    QLH says: We will search our records for the drafts of the change order No. 1 and charge for research time.
    I say: If the draft ever existed it should be in the projects file folder and take less than a minute to be located – how much do you charge for less than a minute of research?
    In the time it took to write the email to the city manager, they should have been able to locate any document for the project from the projects file folder.
    Moreover, if it is part of the projects records it should have been turned over to the city as a public record of the city project.
    However if some missing records have to be fabricated at this time it will take longer and cost more I guess.

  • June 9, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    From my experience I think the city should have the documents on file at the utilities administration office. If they exists they should be able to produce them in a couple minutes. On project files the city and consulting engineers should pretty much have the same documents.

    • June 9, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      R. Woodman,
      You would certainly think so, but Ted and I sat in Robin Fenwick’s office and looked through several large boxes of documents that supposedly contained everything that Public Utilities had on the project. Those cost breakdowns of Masci’s were not in those boxes. Maybe they were found later? Maybe they were in Masci’s or QLH’s office and not given to the City until later? Maybe Ted and I are blind, stupid or lying?
      I do know that there was a lot of talk back then about how much a berm should cost and that all of the estimates were dramatically higher than any amount now being talked about. Who cares where and when the documentation was found as long as it supports the company line.

  • June 10, 2015 at 10:07 am

    At first I almost found it hard to believe that the documents are that difficult to find. Then after thinking about it I realized a few things. A few utilities directors ago we kept very good records. The directors insisted on it, plus we had a very professional secretary that made sure that the records were kept and well organized.
    During the time that this project was going on utilities was going through a great deal of upheaval. They went through several directors, new city managers and we lost the aforementioned secretary. It was very chaotic to say the least. No one was supervising the project manager and providing needed oversight from the city of those involved in running the project. I’m not making excuses but that’s how remember things at that time. I still keep in mind that they were professional licensed college educated people that were assumed to be qualified to do this work in a competent manner. I’m sure that they must feel embarrassment about this. Maybe we can learn a few things from this experience like let’s keep better more detailed and timely records. We need more open communication to council and more transparency. Maybe have contractors breakdown bids with line item costs for everything or the major components / phases or at least on work being done with grant money.
    We need some sort of reference for tracking cost, credits and pay requests, not just invoices. We could use written reports from the contractor with work progress, deletions with associated costs and or credits along with invoices to accompany pay requests, We need a project manager report with the contractor progress report a consulting engineer report and all other related documents, notes, invoices and credits attached. Depending on the length of the project this could be done at certain intervals, monthly or every two weeks etc.
    It’s too bad this all had to turn out like this. I feel bad for the flood victims and understand their feelings and their passion to get to the bottom of this fiasco. My home has been flooded twice.

    • June 11, 2015 at 10:30 am

      So what has happened Woody? Sounds as if you and the rest of the City boys like Tron (aka Floki or DJ Matus or whatever comic-book fantasy creature fills his head these days) have all sold out to Quentin Hampton and that little dirt thief we have for a mayor. All of a sudden Roger Smith can walk on water? I know you loved him because of all the free administrative leave he gave you but the only thing better back when he was in charge was that Ken Parker made sure the city “family” was treated to huge raises every year. What did it take to buy you off Tron? Was it a few free tickets or did you hold out for the mountain view and the sea breeze? If the consulting engineers were doing the job they get paid for, the activists would not have anything to write about. But I understand that Tron is still a city employee and drinking the QLHA kool aid is better for his pocketbook than honesty and hard work. But I do not understand you Woody since you are gone from there–unless the “family” still takes care of its own.

      • June 11, 2015 at 10:55 am

        Wow – Sounds like someone got to Woody and he has gone to the dark side

      • June 11, 2015 at 4:13 pm

        Hey I just happened to be in a good mood when I wrote that post. I figured instead of a negative rant like most people write on here that I’d make a few suggestions for some better controls for project management. Isn’t that what the Buzz Phrase is? We need better controls. I don’t like kool aid no matter who is serving it, even you Chester. I walk my own path. I could care less about QLHA, Roger, Ken Parker or you for that matter Chester. I say what I want when I want and don’t give a damn if you or anyone else like it or not. As far as me having gone to the dark side I don’t think anyone would like to see my dark side. It’s not nice.

      • June 12, 2015 at 1:46 pm

        Chester, you’ve got your information all ass backwards and don’t know what you are talking about.

        • June 12, 2015 at 6:18 pm

          What part did Chester get wrong – Green is a little dirt thief ? Smith, Woody and Pegleg are payroll thieves ? Parker took care of the ‘family ‘ with obscene raises ? QLH hands out little perks to all the good sucks ?
          Sounds to me like Chester is right on the money.

  • June 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    YES! If staff from the manager down to low level employees are not trying to limit access conceal items and delay the release, they really need a better public relations program.
    For instance;
    Many individuals and journalists are on the “city council” email distribution list. Many things have been found to have been sent to the individual council addresses. Simple items such as the weekly CM update, but unless something is tripped on in conversation noticed in a later header, who knows what else is being concealed?
    The city has an internal newsletter “The Orange Peel”. It is distributed monthly by email to “all city po”. I serve on 2 boards and have a city of PO email and cannot get added to the distribution despite asking three times now. The only way I see it is to remember to ask every month.
    The length of time some documents take to find or gather, or even admit their is no document or policy on paper.
    Last is the fall back of a huge charge to retrieve or reproduce documents. The impression I have been left with at times is that if “they” do not want you to see or find something they make it cost prohibitive to look. Then I have also been given dumps of had or impossible to interpret sheets.
    Overall the City Clerks office, I think, does well but they cannot control distribution lists, or transmit documents they do not have and are not given.
    Newton White

  • June 10, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Newton, thank you for your observations. I think with the information interested citizens are uncovering, albeit many times with difficulties, we are getting a picture of City Hall Government, but missing in the puzzle picture are some pieces which seem to be able to better define Port Orange City Hall.
    The City Council has the keys to relieve the national anxiety which is prevalent, and alive even in Port Orange. Of course the people want to be assured that they are getting all the information they should have, and that the city council has the same information.
    If only the city council members would at least acknowledge that there has been a culture of deception, hidden facts, lost documents, hidden documents and mismanagement and take a stand that no matter who the mayor or city manager is, they the city council members will not stand for it.
    But city council members are loath to criticize each other. Someone has told them to stick together as in a team effort. And we the people feel left out of the “we are family” crowd.
    What is happening in Port Orange is happening nationally and worldwide. There is anxiety and a predilection to trust no one. Some on the city council will not confront this perception, and proceed in the old way, “That’s for me to know and you to find out”.
    The mayor knows that I had told him in a telephone conversation that I think he holds his cards close to his vest. He did not respond to my complaint. More and more a lot of us know that we are all in this card game, and because we have to ante up the money, we want to see all the cards on the table.
    Until the city council gets with the new age of freedom of information and quest for transparency, it will encounter more and more difficulties with its “investors” even after Ted Noftall and Mike Gardiner are gone.
    I think it was back in 2002, that councilman Steindoefer replied to me that when he makes comments they are meant for other city council members and not the public, and he only makes such comments for the benefit of other city council members because of the sunshine law. And there we have it. “I don’t want you to hear me” said the mayor to the audience one of whom complained she could not hear him.
    The city council is ignoring the really interested citizens, and it resent the really interested citizens. Why don’t they just go away for we can get back to the good old days in Port Orange. They do not know how to honestly engage the interested citizens in dialogue because the culture of background finance interests in Port Orange will not permit such forthrightness.
    If they cannot have honest dialogue with the citizens then they do not deserve the “respect” that they ask for.
    I except Bob Ford from my criticism, but he too has to be watched because of the impulse to get re-elected no matter what will be compromised.
    The new generation is so disgusted with politics they don’t want to get involved. That will change. We will have our Arab Spring, and will look to Ted Noftall, Mike Gardiner, Mark Schaefer, and Newton White for leadership.
    Scott, Drew, Don, Allen, I hope I am around to see you kicked out of office. You pansies, cowards, for whatever your reasons are. Two of you knew how to protect the people, now start representing them and demand honesty and transparency. Scott. Never again come to my house and tell me only part of the story and explanation I might be looking for. Scott, you have so disappointed me, but well, this is politics, so what can I expect? I expect more, and at least honesty.
    How in the world can the city council cry out for accountability, when they feel the chairman of the budget advisory board was out of line, and instead of just firing him, fired the whole board?
    Trust should not be given to Port Orange City government until they earn it. Bob Pohlmann, are you there and listening?
     hank


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