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Capstone Pub699

  1. 1. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page i of 91Running head: SUNSHINE INFORMATION REQUEST PROCESS An Evaluation of the Information Management Process in the Facilities and Construction Management Department, School Board of Broward County, Florida by Julie J. Rada to Barry University in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Public Administration This Applied Capstone Project has been accepted for the faculty of Barry University by: _______________________________________ Stephen E. Sussman, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Public Administration
  2. 2. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page ii of 91 Executive Summary Sunshine legislation exists to ensure that government agencies operate in an openenvironment and provide public access to agency documents. The principle behind suchregulation goes to the heart of republican democracy wherein the people are the government.Transparency and compliance are keys to fostering informed public participation, as well as toprovide responsible governance that is responsive to public opinion. For this reason informationmanagement is a crucial function in public administration. An evaluation of the information processes in Facilities and Construction Management atthe School Board of Broward County was undertaken to provide insight into the dynamicsinvolved in dealing with stakeholder requests. As a prelude to the study, a literature review wasperformed to provide an historical perspective on government in the sunshine, and study thebody of research relating to compliance, public opinion, and media influence on administrativefunction, as well as relevant case law.The ensuing analysis of the department‘s availableinformation process data was conducted based on that body of knowledge. Data was examined and evaluated as it relates to various facets of the informationresponse processes. The volume of information requests, turnaround time from date of inquiry tocompletion, entities involved in fulfillment of those requests, parties generating requests, andtopics of interest were all analyzed. Answers were sought to questions concerning who makespublic records requests, the nature of information is being sought, whether external factorstrigger requests, how change in leadership affects the response process, and, ultimately, theefficiency of the response process.
  3. 3. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page iii of 91 Assessment results indicate that the department‘s information processes are effective, andthat they are in compliance with specified guidelines concerning response completion time.Stakeholders requesting information represent diverse relationships, and there is significantcorrelation between stakeholder status and the subject matter sought. Evidence tends to supportthe contentions that both change in leadership and external factors impacted the process duringthe period studied.
  7. 7. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 1 of 91 Issue Statement Information management plays a vital role in public administration. Effectivetransmission of information facilitates intra-organizational communication, and is essential forinteractions between the agency and the public, the media, and overhead agencies. Sunshinelegislation mandates open access to public records, and is intended to foster transparency ingovernance. As a public agency the Facilities and Construction Management (FCM) department of theSchool Board of Broward County (SBBC) is subject to state and federal Sunshine Laws. It isresponsible for construction and renovation of all SBBC facilities and capital improvements. Assuch, FCM personnel interact with a variety of stakeholders in the execution of its business. An analysis of FCM‘s records pertaining to its information management process couldprovide insight into stakeholder identity, areas of concern, and how effective the responseprocess is. This study will attempt to answer these questions: 1. Who is making public recordsrequests? 2. What information is being sought? 3. Do external factors trigger requests? 4. Doeschange in leadership affect the response process? 5. How efficient is the response process?6. Isthere collaboration among departments in the response completion process? Operative hypotheses are as follows: 1. FCM receives information requests from avariety of stakeholders. 2. There is a strong correlation between stakeholder status andinformation requested. 3. External factors such as media coverage influence informationrequests. 4. Change in leadership impacts the response process. 5. FCM fulfills informationrequests within time frames prescribed by SBBC policy, and is in compliance with Sunshine
  8. 8. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 2 of 91requirements.6. FCM frequently collaborates with other departments in completing theinformation request process. Evaluation of current processes may reveal areas where policies and procedures can beimproved, or alternatively, provide affirmation as to their efficacy. Additionally, it may proveuseful in achieving a measureable degree of predictability concerning causal relationshipsrelative to public interest in FCM functions. The intent behind this study is to provide abeneficial service to the department, and to offer support for process improvements suggested bystaff members.
  9. 9. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 3 of 91 Literature ReviewIntroduction Information management is defined as ―a multi-faceted process involving the collection,processing, storage, transmission, and use of information‖ (Feinberg, 1986, p. 615). Differentregulations pertain to each facet of the process. In discussing management of federal informationpolicy Feinberg reveals that ―businesses have become major requesters; submitters ofinformation are seeking new protections for their data; (and) the costs of providing informationhave been significantly higher than Congress anticipated‖ (p. 615). Codification of federalinformation policy originated with the enactment of a ―housekeeping‖ statute in 1789, saw majorrevisions in the 1940‘s and 1960‘s, and is subject to continuous refinement. All three branches ofgovernment and the private sector have been actively involved in shaping this legislation. This study relates to the transmission phase of information management. While effectivecommunication is importantwithin any agency, it is an essential for the public administrator indealing with extra-organizational entities(Cohen, Eimicke, & Heikkila, 2008). Among these arethe general public, legislatures, overhead agencies, interest groups, and the media.The primaryfocus of this study concerns the distribution of information to interested parties. In particular,attention will be directed toward an exploration of the importance of public records andinformation management in promoting the ideals of accountability, transparency, and informedpublic opinion.Additionally, the issue of compliance with state and federal regulation isexamined as it relates to agency interaction with legislatures and overhead agencies.Public Opinion Public opinion playsan integral role in fostering an informed public. Its eminence in
  10. 10. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 4 of 91politics and governance in the United States originated with the framing of our constitution,made implicit through the First Amendment. Several works are available on the topic. James Madison’s Psychology of Public Opinioninforms that recent developments in thefield of public opinion have led to a renewed interest in Madison‘s conception of its role and theappropriate extentto which it should play a part ingovernmental process (Gabrielson, 2009).Citing contemporary literature that ranges from limiting the role as a means for selection of goodrepresentatives to a vehicle for highly significant involvement in self-directed governance,Gabrielson contends that the key questions concern Madison‘s view not only of the public‘scapacity for making political decisions, but whether public reason can prevail over passion in arepublic. Acomprehensive qualitative analysis of Madison‘s essays and letters is undertaken thattracks the maturation of his philosophical views toward informed citizenry. The tensions inherentin our political system are mirrored in his discussions concerning reason versus emotion andaffection relative to establishing an informed decision-making process. According to Gabrielson,Madison ―relies on both the social passions and reason to settle public opinion, especially whenthose passions are supported by the reason of the few and the few appeal to the reason of themany‖ (p. 441). Ultimately this treatise reflects the belief that Madison considered it the public‘sresponsibility to monitor the actions of its representatives and call for action when appropriate,as well as his advocacy for debate that allows for passion tempered by logic. Public administration theorists have held varying views on the role of public opinion inthe discipline‘s practical application. In promoting administration as a practical science andestablishing the framework for its academic application, Woodrow Wilson advocated foradministrators having broad powers and unhampered discretion in order to be efficient(Wilson,(1887) 2004). He posited that this would afford the means to achieve the highest potential for
  11. 11. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 5 of 91open and honest success. As justification, he argued that public opinion would be theauthoritative critic concerning administrative performance, but cautioned that there must be aproper relation between public opinion and administration. Wilson‘s managerial approach as adapted by Frederick Taylor, Leonard White, LutherGulick, Simmons and Dvorin, and Max Weber dictates that administration must be separate andapart from politics(Rosenbloom, (1983) 2004). Rosenbloom does not address the subject inrelation to the legal approach to administration, however, as is evident from the media coverageof litigation involving theDepartment of the Interior and the Minerals Management Serviceconcerningthe Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, this method is not immune to the realm ofpublic opinion. With regard to the political approach Rosenbloom evokes Wallace Sayre‘ssentiment that ―…the fundamental problem in a democracy is responsibility to popularcontrol…‖ (p. 447). Public opinion is fundamental to the political approach to publicmanagement. This school of thought stresses representativeness, political responsiveness, andaccountability. Political administrative management spawned the Freedom of Information Act, aswell as other ―sunshine‖ provisions and ―sunset‖ requirements.Informing the Public An article appearing in The Public Opinion Quarterly during the Truman era critiques thefederal government‘s recently created agency position, the public information officer(Fitzpatrick, 1947-1948).Fitzpatrick‘s introductory comments acknowledge the inherent tensionbetween the public and administrative agencies in the governmental process. ―Nevertheless, it isgenerally accepted that whenever the American people are properly informed of governmentalactivities, they are more likely to understand what is being done, and why‖ (p. 530).
  12. 12. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 6 of 91 Fitzpatrick writes that the greatest challenges faced in government information programsare internal in nature. The most basic of these is how much authority is vested in the publicinformation officer. Next is the question of where within the hierarchy this position resides,which is complicated by the involvement of intermediaries between the information officer andadministrators. Division of authority and responsibility within the agency create difficulties indetermining who is authorized to release information. Delays caused by these hurdles can createadverse public relations resulting in loss of trust in the agency, as well as negative perceptionsconcerning administrative performance. Stalled delivery of information is often exacerbatedwhen the information being sought is provided to the party requesting it by an outside source.Additional problems involve agency personnel communicating public information without theadvice of the information officer, misuse or misrepresentation of agency information byadministrative personnel, and the bureaucratic tendency toward hesitancy in admitting to errorwhen it has been discovered. The effective public administrator recognizes that the interests of the agency must bebalanced with the interests of those who are the beneficiaries of the information they supply, andappreciatesthat an informed public is an essential component of governance (Cohen, Eimicke, &Heikkila, 2008). A prudent administrator relies on the public information officer, when available,as the most effective means for information dissemination. Effects of external information impinging on public information utilized in the decision-making process are studied in Social Value of Public Information(Morris & Shin, 2002). Morrisand Shin contend that public information has a dual role - to convey fundamental information,and to facilitate focused thinking. ―Sunspots‖ and ―noise‖ are referenced as influences that mightresult in distortion of public information. When this distortion occurs, the effects are detrimental
  13. 13. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 7 of 91to the social planner. Just as public information has significant impact, so does the incursion ofnoise in the public psyche. They posit that public information risks the danger of being tooeffective in influencing actions; when overreaction occurs, any noise damage is magnified. Government agencies are faced with numerous interrelated issues in formulatingdisclosure policies. Specific concerns include how much information should be disclosed, howoften, and in what form. The challenge is to find a balance between providing timely preliminaryor incomplete information versus delaying response in order to provide more accurate data. Thisbecomes increasingly more difficult with increased scrutiny or monitoring of agency activities. An interesting study conducted by Christopher Wlezien demonstrates how the public‘sspending preferencescorrelate to policy outputs (1995). He developed a thermostatic modelincorporating spending preferences relative to a set of five social programs, as well as defensepolicy. Utilizing time series regression analysis, he found that changes in spending preferencesreflect changes in levels of spending preferred, as well as in spending decisions themselves.Public preference changes are inversely related to spending decisions. When appropriationsincrease, preferences are adjusted downward, and vice versa. Public spending preferences tendtoward being more liberal when economic expectations are more optimistic, and moreconservative when they are not. Unless something happens to change them, preferences tend toremain unchanged. In his conclusion Wlezien writes: ―… most striking is that the publicresponds to appropriations, which are policy decisions, not to the more tangible outlays thatresult from appropriations‖ (p. 998). The efficacy of his model is dependent upon the publicobtaining the most accurate information available otherwise the public would prove to be a faultythermostat. Knowledge as power is a recurring theme in the democratic process, and knowledge gap
  14. 14. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 8 of 91has long been a topic of concern (Jerit, Barabas, & Bolsen, 2006). In their study of theinformation environment, Jerit, Barabas and Bolsen narrowed their focus from generalknowledge to surveillance knowledge, i.e. sufficient understanding of issues enabling individualsto monitor government activity. They sought to determine whether knowledge could beimproved by increased media coverage, and how that increased knowledge impacted theknowledge gap. Their findings indicated that the greater volume of coverage increasedknowledge across the spectrum. In the case of print news, more plentiful information increaseddifferences in knowledge level attributed to education. There was not a significant increase in theknowledge gap with increased television coverage. In terms of relative gains, the least educateddid better. As suggested by Jerit, et al., further study aimed at gap reduction would be beneficialin exploring means through which to foster the ideal of informed political participation. Inclusionof alternative information sources could also provide additional insight into individualmonitoring habits.The Media Government is highly dependent upon the media as a vehicle for communicating with thepopulace. Several studies have been completed concerning the role of media in politics as ameans of informing public opinion, ensuring disclosure and transparency, and its influence inagenda setting.Interaction between the press, the public, decision makers and policy constructhas provided fertile ground for study in multiple scholarly disciplines. Complexities of theserelationships, as well as variations on theme make the subject timeless. The preceding sections sufficiently examine the relationship between the media and thepublic for the purposes of this study. An understanding of the dynamics between the press and
  15. 15. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 9 of 91policymaking is beneficial in terms of its import to the public administrator, as well as thepotentialimpact on the general public. A major cross-disciplinary study concerning media and agenda setting was published inPublic Opinion Quarterly in 1983 (Cook, et al.). Its authors claimed to be the first to ―…examine how the same media presentation shapes the judgments of both the general public andpolicy makers and also how the presentation affects subsequent policy‖ (pp. 16-17). This studywas unique in that it involved a collaboration of the researchers with a team of investigativereporters. Inasmuch as the researchers were fully appraised as to the content and records thatwould be used in a televised investigative report, as well as the date on which it would air, theywere able to conduct both pre- and post-broadcast surveys. An experimental group was asked towatch the target program, while a control group was asked to view a news magazine program ona different channel airing at the same time. A test population was randomly selected from thegeneral public, with those respondents randomly assigned to either the experimental group or thecontrol group. One to two hour interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of policy makerparticipants prior to the news report, with a post airing telephone survey lasting ten to fifteenminutes. This sampling population consisted of government elites (53 percent) and specialinterest elites (47 percent), all at the state level.Cook, et al. felt it inappropriate to requestindividuals of this echelon to watch a television program, and posited that when high-levelpolicymakers are not personally attuned to the media, they rely on staff to provide them withrelevant information. Thus they are indirectly exposed to its effects. Of those responding, thegroup was evenly split between those who were exposed to the presentation and those who werenot. The breakdown in subgroups revealed 63 percent exposure to 37 percent lacking awareness
  16. 16. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 10 of 91of the broadcast among government elites, with 37.5 percent of special interest elites reportingexposure to the program compared to 62.5 percent indicating non-exposure. In summation the data suggests a strong correlation between watching the target programand the public perception of issue importance. Post survey results ranked the target issue assecond in priority, up from fourth in the antecedent survey. The finding supports the concept ofthe ―agenda-setting function of the media among members of the general public‖ (Cook, et al.,p.25). Policy elites are not all similarly influenced by news media presentations. In this study theinvestigative report altered the perception of government elites, but not that of special interestelites. Results revealed an alteration in perception of the importance of the issue on the part ofgovernmental policy makers, their belief that action was necessary, and their perception of howthe public views issue priorities. However, the issue remained last in priority for thesepolicymakers. Lack of significant change among special interest elites in this study wasattributed to their nature. Special interest groups are already knowledgeable about and advocatethe issues to which they are committed. Through their evaluation pertaining to the impact of the studied report on policy, Cook etal. reveal a connection between the media investigators and the U.S. Permanent Subcommitteeon Investigations. This was a mutually beneficial relationship in that the subcommittee sought toattract public attention to the issue through the media, and the investigative team‘s motivationwas to include the government‘s reaction in their story. The broadcast concluded with anannouncement that Senate hearings were imminent, and the following day a news release settingthe hearing dates was issued. Expert testimony was provided during the hearings by some of theinvestigators, who were subsequently lauded for their ―initiative in securing their … findings‖ (p.31). Cook, et al. concluded that while public perception and the agendas of policy makers were
  17. 17. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 11 of 91both affected by media coverage in the case studied, it was the ongoing collaboration ofgovernment staff members with journalists that ultimately led to political action. Media thrives on scandals and accidents, and the crises caused by them have drawnattention to regulatory issues that would not have otherwise been placed on the political agenda(Kemp, 1984).Dissemination of information about an incident is a prerequisite to its becoming apolitical issue. Kemp cites the journalistic axiom that ―an event which wasn‘t reported didn‘thappen‖ (p.403). Public concern about issues cannot be generated unless opinion leaders and themedia broadly disseminate what is observed and known about their occurrence. In her data analysis Kemp contends, ―accidents and scandals are dramatic eventsfacilitating mobilization for quick action rather than deliberation and study. … If there is to beany institutional response, it must come quickly before public attention is turned elsewhere‖ (p.413). Kemp sought to determine the impact of accidents and scandals on political support forregulatory agencies in the White House and Congress. Budgetary data for the Securities andExchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal AviationAdministration was utilized to test for the effect of accidents and scandals occurring over aperiod of approximately thirty years. For all three agencies accidents and scandals wereimportant factors in budgeting outcomes and regulatory policy. Party control as well as therelative status of the three agencies factored into the specific magnitude, direction, and quality ofresponse from Congress and the presidency. A look at environmental policy demonstrates how dramatic events have impacted agencyadministration. Major incidents that have had an effect on policymaking include Three MileIsland, Love Canal, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Bhopal disaster, and Chernobyl (Cooper,2007). A sampling of legislation that arose from these incidents, as well as public concern over
  18. 18. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 12 of 91other environmental issues includes: The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act 1975; ToxicSubstances Control Act 1976; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, andLiability Act (Superfund) 1980; Alaska National Interest Conservation Act 1980; Hazardous andSolid Waste Amendments 1984; Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA)1986; Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act 1986; Safe Drinking Water Amendments of1986; Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986; Federal Water QualityAct 1987; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Amendments 1988; OceanPollution Act 1990; Oil Pollution Prevention Act 1990; Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990;Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act 1992; Federal Facilities Compliance Act1992; and California Desert Protection Act 1994. Public information was key to exposingdangers, real or perceived, that demanded the attention of government. Access to agency recordsis crucial as a means to satisfy the public that their interests are being adequately protected. Scandal and impropriety evoke strong responses from the American public, especiallywhen government and its officials are involved. Among those with the highest profile areWatergate, the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, and human rights violations that occurredat Abu Ghraib. Violation of public trust is not a new concern, but in recent years intensifiedscrutiny of government and bureaucratic agencies in Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach Countieshas had significant impact, and been greatly facilitated through accessibility to publicinformation. Several officials have been removed from office for their abuses, with some servingprison time on criminal charges. A surge in concern about the actions of representatives on bothstate and local levels has spawned ethics review committees in various agencies and placedethics regulation on ballots in recent elections. The Threshold of Public Attention asks ―what would happen if all the mass media ceased
  19. 19. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 13 of 91to function?‖ (Neuman, 1990). It answers that government would be immobilized. This studyfocuses on the transition from initial stages of public awareness toward a threshold that moves amatter from one of private concern to a public, political issue. In addressing the evolution ofagenda-setting theory Neuman incorporates McCombs and Shaw‘s proposition that ―the pressmay not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but … stunninglysuccessful in telling its readers what to think about‖ (p. 160). While the media and the publicboth respond to real-world cues, the media acts a conduit of information. The potential forfiltering, distortion, and amplification is elemental in agenda-setting theory. In discussing public response function theory Neuman refers to Downs‘s ―issue-attention‖ cycle(p. 164). Downs contended that public interest has a systematic life cycle, andthat changes in public perception are more closely related to this five-stage cycle than to changesin real conditions. Stage one is the pre-problem stage where a problem exists, but publicattention has not been captured. The discovery stage, stage two, reflectsa major increase inattention and the problem transitions into a political issue. This is the threshold. In stage three aplateau is reached and enthusiasm for the issue begins to wane. Stage four, the decline - thepublic becomes restless, inattentive, and frustrated. In the fifth stage, the post-problem periodrelegates the issue to a state of limbo. Neuman reported findings in his study produced consistentbut somewhat weak evidence in support of threshold and saturation effects. Relativeresponsiveness to different issue types produced the biggest differences issue by issue.Transparency, Accountability, and Compliance Timing, logistics and information sensitivity are all of concern in relation to transparency.Andrea Prat of the London School of Economics identified circumstances whereby conformism
  20. 20. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 14 of 91was a result of an agent‘s knowledge that his or her actions were being observed (2005). Onlyfear of failure deters conformism. More to the point of thiseconometric study, the concludingstatements pose that ―an action, or the intention to take an action, should not be revealed beforethe consequences of the action are observed‖ (p. 869). The expectation should be thattransparency on decisions and consequences go hand in hand. An exploratory analysis of sunshine regulations as applied to institutions of highereducation discusses Cleveland‘s contention that mandated openness, when applied to publiccolleges and universities, poses a ―trilemma‖ for society (McLendon & Hearn, 2006). Inherenttension is created among competing societal objectives: ensuring accountability to the public,protecting individual rights, and allowing institutions sufficient autonomy to achieve their publicmissions. The purpose of this study was to gain perspective on stakeholders‘ views regarding theimpact of sunshine regulations on the governance of institutions of higher learning. Samplingconsisted of a two-stage process. Six states were selected for their diversity along social, legal,and organizational dimensions. Then respondents were selected from among six categories;members of institutional governing boards, senior campus and system officials, faculty senateleaders, newspaper personnel versed in the field, state attorneys general and their staff, and statelegislators and agency officials. Analysis revealed no evidence of ―declining openness in highereducation, and no evidence of outright revolt against sunshine laws‖ (p.675). Respondentsexpressed commitment of openness in both principle and in practice. Most felt that safeguardingof individual privacy rights, as well as maintaining institutions capable of achieving theirpurpose efficiently and effectively were equally important. Balancing the three creates tensionand poses challenges when implementing sunshine laws in the collegiate environment. An economic study on media capture and accountability assessed relationships between
  21. 21. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 15 of 91features of the media industry, media capture, and political outcomes(Besley & Prat, 2006).Media capture signifies a collusive relationship between the press and government, ergo itcreates a scenario that is antithetical to the precept of accountability. Analysis resultsindicated―media pluralism is of paramount importance‖ and should be considered in mergerreviews by regulatory agencies (p. 732). Besley and Pratt conclude that increased mediacompetition reduces bias and fosters an environment true to the intent of accountability. Despite revisions to both federal and state sunshine legislation, differences in opinionover interpretation of production requirements based on form and format of information continueto cause friction. Government Records: It’s the Message, Not the Medium, a trade publicationarticle, reviews three cases involving resistance on the part of both state and federal agencies inresponding to requests for production of records produced electronically and/or through the useof personal equipment (Swartz, 2008). A cursory review of FOIA audits and research containedin The National Security Archives at George Washington University reveals a fairlycomprehensive critique of compliance on the federal level.Federal Information Policy The United States maintains an open information policy that is based on diverse andfragmented administrative practice laws (Cooper, 2007). It is a system of interrelated andoverlapping constitutional and statutory elements that sometimes conflict. The language of theConstitution and Supreme Court interpretations of its articles and amendments are at the heart ofthe system. Core statutory elements include the Freedom of Information Act, Right to PrivacyAct, Government in the Sunshine Act, Paperwork Reduction Act, Federal Advisory CommitteeAct, and E-Government Act. Additional statutory elements are the Health Insurance Portability
  22. 22. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 16 of 91and Accountability Act, the USA Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act, Computer Security Act,the Clinger Cohen Act, Paperwork Elimination Act, and Family Education Rights and PrivacyAct. Various environmental factors affecting information policy involve political pressure,national security, intergovernmental relations, market forces, technological innovation, andglobalization. Included among the legislation amassed during in the New Deal Era was theAdministrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §551 et seq.(Cooper, 2007). This statute appliesto all federal agencies not otherwise specifically exempted, and provides minimum standards towhich these agencies must adhere. In original form the APA included provisions intended topromote openness and responsiveness in government, including the administration ofinformation policy. Beginning in 1955, U.S. Rep. John Moss (D-CA), a leading consumer advocate,spearheaded a committee that investigated, promulgated reports and held hearings ongovernment information policy. At that time Section 3 of the APA governed the means by whichthe public could obtain information from federal governmental agencies (The FOIA andPresident Lyndon Johnson, n.d). Organizations involved with formulating the policy included theAmerican Bar Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and ―committees of newspapermen,editors and broadcasters‖ (The Congressional Record, 1966, p. 13642). Enacted in 1966, The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, constitutesthe greatest portion of the APA. It establishes that any person, including U.S. citizens, foreignnationals, organizations, associations, and universities can file a FOIA request. TheAdministrative Procedures Act contained less precise verbiage affording agencies responding torequests reasons to deny those requests based on arbitrary interpretations as to who might be
  23. 23. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 17 of 91entitled to receive information requested from them, i.e. how is ―need to know‖ defined. The decade from instigation through fruition was extremely active. In addition to theCold War, major political events during this time include: McCarthyism and Senator JosephMcCarthy‘s decline in reputation; the third and fourth decades of the nearly 50-year reign of J.Edgar Hoover, his investigation into subversives and prominent figures he distrusted as well ashis refusal to investigate the mafia; the Viet Nam War; the civil rights movement; and theassassination of President John F. Kennedy followed by the Warren Commission investigation.Any one of these coupled with citizenry harboring innate distrust of government provide ampleammunition to bolster demands that the government respond to citizens‘ desire to know howtheir government is operating, what is happening as a result of those actions, and how their livesare or will be affected. Judicial review was added to the FOIA over President Gerald Ford‘s veto during theWatergate Investigation. During President Ronald Reagan‘s tenure Congress took action to putsome branches of the CIA out of the Act‘s reach. President Bill Clinton was successful inexpanding the FOIA to cover electronic media(The Freedom of Information Act Turns 35, nd),andthe 2002 amendment signed by President George W. Bush limits the ability of foreign agentsto request records from U.S. intelligence agencies (The FOIA and President George W. Bush,nd). Much debate has taken place concerning the public‘s right to know versus nationalsecurity. President Johnson‘s statement, issued when he signed the Act, addressed this concern.―This legislation springs from one of our most essential principles: a democracy works best whenthe people have all the information that the security of the nation permits. No one should be ableto pull curtains of secrecy around decisions which can be revealed without injury to the public
  24. 24. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 18 of 91interest‖ (Press Secretary, 1996). There are exemptions delineating what will not be provided:national security information; internal personnel rules and practices; substantial internal matterswhen disclosure would risk circumvention of a legal requirement; internal matters that areessentially trivial in nature; information exempt under other laws; confidential businessinformation; inter or intra agency communication that is subject to deliberative process,litigation, and other privileges; personal privacy; law enforcement records that implicate one ofsix enumerated concerns;financial institutions; and geological information (FOIA Basics, Whatare the FOIA expemtions?, nd) As summarized by the U.S. Attorney General upon enactment of the original version, theessential principles supporting the Freedom of Information Act are reflected in its policygoals(Cooper, 2007). First, ―that disclosure be the general rule, not the exception‖ (p. 446).Second, equal rights of access to all individuals. Third, the burden to justify withholding of adocument is on government, not the individual making the request. Fourth,improperly deniedaccess to a document triggers the right to sue for injunctive relief. Fifth, there ―should be afundamental shift in the attitudes and policies regarding government information of those inpositions of responsibility‖ (p. 446). Operation of FOIA policy varies from administration to administration, and responseprocedures among federal agencies are diverse. Differences in interpretation of the Act‘sprovisions further complicate the process. Also problematic is the need to balance constitutionalrights that sometimes conflict with one another. There is a significant volume of case lawinvolving administration of the Act. A summary of precedent-setting FOIA litigation is includedin Appendix A.
  25. 25. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 19 of 91State of Florida Information Policy Sunshine regulation varies greatly from state to state. The State of Florida is renownedfor the priority it places on openness in government. Its public records law was enacted in 1909,and in 1967 legislation was passed to include public access to agency meetings (State of Florida,2009b). In 1992 a constitutional amendment was passed to guarantee continued openness ingovernment, extended coverage to the legislature, and included the judiciary. Appendix Bcontains pertinent excerpts of Article 1, Section 24, pertaining to the Information Law.WhenFlorida enacted its original legislation it was the second state to codify informationpolicy(McLendon & Hearn, 2006). By the end of the ten-year period after Florida initiatedcomprehensive reform of its statutes in 1954, twenty-six states had enacted openness ingovernment laws. Following Watergate, another wave of statutory reform occurred. According toMcLendon and Hearn Florida ranked second highest among the fifty states in Cleveland‘s 1985openness ordering. The State of Florida has published a reference guide for compliance with its publicrecords and open meeting laws(State of Florida, 2009a). The manual contains two parts: Part Icovers the Government in the Sunshine Law, §286.011 FS. Part II pertains to the Public RecordsLaw, §119.01(11) FS. Written in question and answer format, it is a comprehensive treatment ofthe sunshine legislation replete with black letter law annotations including Attorney GeneralOpinions, pertinent legislation, and relevant case law. Public records as defined by statute include all documents, papers, letters, maps, books,tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material,regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or receivedpursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any
  26. 26. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 20 of 91agency‖ (p.46). The broad scope of the definition is intended to be comprehensive enough toincorporate new forms of technology that may evolve. Unless otherwise exempted by law, alldocuments will remain available for public inspection. By definition, the term agency includes: ―any state, county, district, authority, ormunicipal officer, department, division, board, bureau, commission, or other separate unit ofgovernment created or established by law including, for the purposes of this chapter, theCommission on Ethics, the Public Service Commission, and the Office of Public Counsel, andany other public or private agency, person, partnership, corporation, or business entity acting onbehalf of any public agency‖ (p. 48). Additionally, ―Art. I, s. 24(a), Fla. Const., establishes aconstitutional right of access to ‗any public record made orreceived in connection with theofficial business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state, or personsacting on theirbehalf, except with respect to those records exempted pursuant to this section or specificallymadeconfidential by this Constitution‘" (p. 48). The legislative, executive, and judicial branchesofgovernment; counties, municipalities, and districts; and each constitutional officer, board, andcommission, or entitycreated pursuant to law or by the Constitution, are included in thisdefinition. As a means of evaluating when a private entity is acting on behalf of a public agency, theFlorida Supreme Court adopted a "totality of factors" approach. Factors listed by the SupremeCourt include the following: the level of public funding; commingling of funds; whether theactivity was conducted on publicly-owned property; whether services contracted for are anintegral part of the public agencys chosen decision-making process; whether the private entity isperforming a governmental function or a function which the public agency otherwise wouldperform; the extent of the public agencys involvement with, regulation of, or control over the
  27. 27. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 21 of 91private entity;whether the private entity was created by the public agency;whether the publicagency has a substantial financial interest in the privateentity;for whose benefit the private entityis functioning.The compliance manual includes extensive discussion pertaining to theapplicability of the law in government‘s utilization of alternative methods of administration suchas contracting for services, public-private enterprises, and various vehicles utilized in thedelegation of duties or authority to conduct business on behalf of government. Exemptions affecting application of the Records Law are enumerated in §119.071, andare similar in nature to the exemptions provided under the FOIA. Exemptions are grouped byagency administration, agency investigations, security, and other personal information.§119.0711 delineates executive branch agency exemptions. Agency-specific exemptions that fallunder §119.0712 pertain to the Department of Health, and the Department of Highway Safetyand Motor Vehicles. Local government agency and court files are provided exemptions in§§119.073 and 119.074, respectively. There is a significant body of case law concerning jurisdictional control when federal andstate law conflict as to prohibited disclosure (p. 126). As a general rule, in the instance ofabsolute conflict between the two, federal law prevails by virtue of the Supremacy Clause.Where a federal agency located within the state purely for the benefit of Florida residents, e.g.the Housing Authority, state disclosure requirements take precedence over federally prohibiteddisclosure, even when federal funding is involved. Thus, agency function dictates theapplicability of regulation. In general the state views compliance with FOIA requirements as ameans for the federal government to monitor its activities on the state level. Penalties for violation of the Information Law are covered in §119.10. These arespecified according to degree. Unintentional violation by a public officer is a noncriminal
  28. 28. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 22 of 91infraction and subject to a fine not to exceed $500. A public official who knowingly violates thegeneral exemptions provision is subject to suspension and removal or impeachment, and issubject to punishment for commission of a misdemeanor of the first degree. Any person whowillfully and knowingly violates any of the chapter provisions commits a first-degreemisdemeanor. It is a third-degree felony to violate the provisions for protection of victims ofcrimes or accidents.School Board of Broward County, Florida Information Policy The information policy of the School Board of Broward County is codified under PolicyNumber 1343.000 and is presented, with attendant rules, in Appendix C.―The Broward CountySchool District is committed to operating ‗In The Sunshine‘(sic) and has established a reputationas being reporter-friendly. As a way to streamline communication, the District created a one-of-a-kind process that ensures reporters unprecedented access to all aspects of the nations fifthlargest school district‖(School Board of Broward County, nd b). In order to support a free flowof information, the Department of Public Relations and Governmental Affairs has implemented aprocess that includes workshops, staff development training, and a support system. Their website includes publications that provide guidance for working with the press, and the process to befollowed by staff in providing information to the public. Clearly, information management is a crucial function within any public agency. As withany process, a review of existing practices can be helpful in revealing any problem areas, andensuringregulatory or policy compliance. In addition to gaining a better understanding of policiesand procedures, it affords an opportunity to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
  29. 29. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 23 of 91 Methodology The purpose of this study is to evaluate information management within the SBBC‘sFacilities and Construction Management department. It is an eclectic analysis of the processesutilized for transmission of information in complying with SBBC policy as well as state andfederal regulations.Focused interviews were conducted with key personnel to clarify the processthrough which the department responds to information and document requests. These interviewscentered on probative questions intended to clarify department policy and procedures for theinquiry response process. Pre-determined interview questions are provided in Appendix D. Subsequent to completion of the interviews, access was provided to records from whichto glean the data necessary to complete this study.In the interest of preserving the anonymityofpersonnel indicating that preference, for cohesive purposes this paper distinguishes personnelaccording to area of responsibility in the transmission process;i.e. either information requests, ordocument requests. The former is identified as the access professional, and the latter as therecords specialist.Information Requests Relevant data was extracted from a database maintained by the access professional in theDeputy Superintendent‘s office and provided electronically to facilitate examination ofinformation requests processed in that environment. The coded raw data is included in AppendixE, with codebook presented in Appendix F. This sampling included the entire databasecomprised of 196 entries during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 fiscal years. It representsdissemination of information outside the normal course of department business. Data was
  30. 30. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 24 of 91examined and evaluated as it relates to the volume of requests, turnaround time from date ofinquiry to completion, entities involved in fulfillment of those requests, parties generatingrequests, and topics of interest.Document Requests The records specialist in the document management and reception office provided accessto hard copy recordation of document requests spanning an eighteen-month period from January2009 through June 2010. Data was obtained from copies of letters, e-mail, facsimiletransmissions, and information contained in Document Request and Release Forms that areutilized by this office. A spreadsheet of pertinent information was prepared with informationderived from these records to facilitate analysis of document transmissions. Coded raw data isreflected in Appendix G, with codebook shown in Appendix H. All available records wereincluded in this sampling, resulting in a data set containing 156 document requests. Anassessment was undertaken to reveal modes of inquiry, requesting parties, topics of interest,manner of resolution, fees collected, volume of requests, and turnaround time. In as much asnearly seventy percent of document requests pertained to some facet of bidding functions, thoserequests were compared with bid status information as currently reflected in the Demandstardatabase posted on the department‘s web site. Timing of phase-specific requests were referencedagainst bid status and the dates indicated for advertisement, submission deadline, and tabulation.The Media Connection Archives of The Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel were scanned in an effort to identifyarticles containing references to FCM operations. A bibliography was compiled reflectingpublications referencing department personnelfrom July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2010.
  31. 31. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 25 of 91 FindingsInformation Requests Information requests are processed by the access professional in accordance with SBBCpolicy and by adherence to a directive issued by the Office of the Superintendent ofSchools(AccessProfessional, interview, September 28, 2010). Procedure dictates that thedepartment of Public Relations and Governmental Affairs be notified and copied on allinformation requests for tracking purposes. The directive appears in Appendix I. Requests aredirected to the Deputy Superintendent of FCM via a referral form, included here in Appendix J,viathe Superintendent subsequent to obtaining a tracking number. Delivery may be effectedthrough interdepartmental mail, fax, or e-mail. Upon receipt of a Referral, the access professional provides a copy to the deputysuperintendent for his review. The deputy superintendent responds to matters that he isknowledgeable about, or assigns the matter to appropriate staff for completion. After logging theReferral into a database, the access professional delivers the Referral to the staff member towhom it is assigned. Response is drafted by the individual assignee and provided to the deputysuperintendent for review. Once approved and finalized, the information is transmitted by theaccess professional as directed on the Referral. The matter is then logged out of the system andthe Referral is closed. This procedure has been in place throughout the access professional‘s eight-yeartenure.Estimated time expenditure in relation to total workload is five percent. Reported averageturnaround from receipt to fulfillment is two weeks. Unusual circumstances may requireextended time involved in both effort and fulfillment. During the period of this study, a response
  32. 32. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 26 of 91to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement exacted ninety percent of the accessprofessional‘s time during the four weeks needed to complete records compilation. A review of the information request database reveals one entry covering twenty-oneseparate anonymous complaints. Otherwise, each of the remaining 195 entries represent a singlerequest. Of the 216 information requests processed during the two-year period covered in thisstudy, 113 were completed during the 2008-2009 fiscal year, and 103 for fiscal year 2009-2010.Monthly volume ranged from a low of two requests in January 2010, to a high of twenty-sevenrequests in July of 2008. Overall completion average was nine requests per month. Volumetrends are shown in Chart 1 in Appendix K. Turnaround time is graphically presented in Chart 2, Appendix L. Completion time wascalculated in days elapsed from date of inquiry through date of fulfillment. Weekends wereexcluded, with no adjustments made for other periods of office closure such as holidays.Insufficient information was available to ascertain lag time due to Referral processing prior toreceipt by FCM; therefore in some instances the actual processing time while in FCM may beshorter than the figures reflect. During the two-year period studied eight requests were completedon the inquiry correspondence date. Performance breakdown is as follows: 45.12 percent werefulfilled within the first week after receipt; an additional 24.65 percent fell within the secondweek; the third week an additional 6.98 percent were completed; and by the end of the fourthweek, total completion rate was 76.75 percent. The longest completion time recorded was 150days; however, notes included with that entry appear to suggest that the original correspondencewas directed to department staff and subsequently escalated to Referral status. There isinsufficient information available to further clarify timing relative to this outlier. Additionally,fifth week transmissions are heavily impacted by the twenty-one anonymous complaints
  33. 33. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 27 of 91previously noted. Their presence is an anomaly discussed further throughout this analysis.Absentempirical data refuting the supposition that extended fulfillment periods were due to requestsentailing protracted investigation, completion time falls within the parameters established bySBBC policy and Sunshine requirement. Thus, hypothesis 5 as it pertains to the informationresponse process is supported. A leadership change occurred at FCM mid-way through the second year of the periodstudied. Turnaround time was further evaluated to provide enlightenment on how the changeimpacted completion schedules, with results shown in Chart 3, Appendix M, wherein the twoindividuals are designated DS and ADS. Effective December 31, 2009, DS retired after sevenyears of service. ADS was appointed Acting Deputy Superintendent as of January 1, 2010. Chart3 reflects average number of completion days broken into three stages. Stage one covers requestsprocessed during 2008 through 2009 under DS. During this span process time averaged 10.4days prior to adjusting for the outlier anonymous complaints, which drops the average to 7.6days. July through December 2009 comprises the second stage, also on the watch of DS.Average process time during this period was eleven days. Stage three encompasses Januarythrough June 2010, during which completion time averaged 18.89 days under ADS. This findingsupports hypothesis 4; leadership change impacts the response process. External influences affecting the timing vary and insufficient data exists to determinetheir exact nature; however, this increase during the second stageover the prior year coincideswith the occurrence of significant negative press coverage. Issues of note include the arrest of aSBBC board member on ethics related charges that included allegations of improprieties in thecontractor selection process, and a scathing audit report submitted by SBBC‘s internal auditorsinitially in ―draft‖ form and prior to inclusion of a response from FCM. Stage three begins under
  34. 34. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 28 of 91new leadership with ADS. The 18.89-day average registered on the fulfillment track, whenadjusted for the 150-day response outlier, drops toan average turnaround time of 16.05 days.Again, there is insufficient data to definitively explain the extended time frame. It is not unlikelythat the issues presented during the preceding six months continued to generate interest, andperhaps escalated in stage three. Additionally, it is reasonable to presume that ADS requiredextended processing time to familiarize himself with the information requested in order toprovide the most accurate responses. This finding provides weak support for hypothesis 3pertaining to the influence of external factors on the information process. FCM information requests frequently involve collaboration with other departmentswithin the division, and other divisions within the district. For the period covered by this study,88.36 percent of requests were resolved with minimal collaboration, i.e. at most a singledepartment cooperated in resolution. Among those, 54 percent made no reference to any otherSBBC entity, seventeen percent were either co-opted with or reassigned to Design Services,twelve percent involved Facilities Management and Property Site Acquisitions, five percent werereferred to the Chief Financial officer, and two percent transferred to document managementwith compliance instructions. Single shot participants include an Area Superintendent, thebuilding department, environmental conservation/utilities management personnel, EmployeeRelations, and Human Resources. These relationships are pictured in Chart 4, Appendix N.Multi-departmental transactions comprise the remaining 13.59 percent of total inquiries andinvolved either cooperative processing, or those departments were copied on responses. Abreakdown of departments involved appears in Chart 5 at Appendix N.Collaboration findingssupport the expectations stated in hypothesis 6. Results of the analysis concerning submittals by interested parties provides a snapshot of
  35. 35. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 29 of 91the diversity in stakeholders participating in the information process over the two-year period,and is evidenced in Chart 6 at Appendix O.Overhead agencies accounted for 41.4 percent of thetotal, and included local, state and federal levels. City and county agencies filed 52 requestsduring the time frame, compared to 35 inquires at the state level, and two federal contacts.Concerned citizens shared the spot for second most contacts at 35. Combined requests fromprofessionals numbered 25, with contractors, consultants, and subcontractors included in thissubset. Business contacts tendered 22 inquiries, followed by the outlier anonymous group at 21.Seventeen requests represented inter-departmental activity. Those of undetermined origin wereclassified as other. The variety of stakeholders identified in this analysis supports hypothesis 1. Abreakdown of stakeholder requests on a monthly basis is provided in Chart 7, Appendix P. Theoutlier anonymous subset stands out in this graph.Mean turnaround time by group is as follows:business one day, professionals 2.2 days, state agencies eight days, local agencies 3.5 days,federal agencies 1.5 days, concerned citizens 27 days, and inter-departmental offices nine days. Subject matter, i.e. the nature of the request, is the final facet analyzed in the informationprocess. The business subset included offers of services or supplies, property managementmatters such as lease issues and common area maintenance, utilities rates, developer siteofferings and impact fees. Professional stakeholders were concerned with contract reassignment,Notices to Owner and contract issues, the competitive bid process, contractor appeals, additionalfees in connection with extension of services, permitting issues, environmental review, landlease, site lease, and law suits. Nine projects were identified in this group: Coconut Creek HighSchool, Westglades Middle School, Coral Glades auditorium, West Pines Middle School,Colbert Elementary School, Hawkes Bluff Elementary School, and Flamingo ElementarySchool.
  36. 36. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 30 of 91 Among the overhead agencies, federal inquiries pertained to economic stimulus, andschool closures guidelines. State agency requests involved public hearings and workshops, thefive-year plan, environmental problems, budget input, class size reduction, revised rules, andcommunity matters. Among budget considerations were educational plant surveys, PECO(capital funding), Castaldi reports, the Qualified Zone Academy Bond, and special reports.Environmental queries pertained to site contamination, and notices of violation. Haitian reliefand public land ownership data complete the list of identified subject matter. City and Countyinquiries included lease agreements, map amendments, plat recordation, Inter-local agreements,concurrency issues, budget issues, maintenance and operating costs, annual energy costinformation, and contract termination status reports. Also included were commendationinformation, affordable housing, portables, and a few school specific inquiries. SBBC inter-departmental queries concerned workshops and hearings, status updates, Inter-local agreements,concurrency, class size reduction, and portables for Haiti. General Public inquiries related primarily to specific construction projects includingcafeterias, auditoriums, pool construction, the bus facility, bathrooms, and estimated completiondates. Concerned citizens also submitted questions regarding bike racks, safety issues, portables,basketball courts, after hours lighting, under utilized school sites, and raised concerns overbudget cuts. One query was received about the district‘s first environmental school, anothersought particulars of contamination notification requirements, and two requests related to non-indigenous flora. Schools specifically identified in this subset include: three for Plantation HighSchool, two each for Taravella High School, South Broward High School, and RivergladesElementary School, and one for Coral Glades High School, Blanche Ely High School, DriftwoodMiddle School, Virginia Schuman Young Elementary School, Hollywood Hills High School,
  37. 37. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 31 of 91Silver Lakes Middle School, Broadview Elementary School, and Lake Forest ElementarySchool. Inquiries submitted anonymously could not be evaluated for subject matter. Submissionof bulk information requests via single Referral was atypical in this study, and no details wereavailable in the database that would facilitate further analysis. Questions concerning thesetransactions remain unanswered due to time constraints, as well as limitations relating to fileaccessibility.However, the findings concerning request subject matteroffer significant support forhypothesis 2. There is a strong correlation between stakeholder status and information requested.Document Requests Requests for documents, like information requests, are processed in the mannerprescribed by SBBC policy and procedures (RecordsSpecialist, interview, November 10, 2010).Current practice dates back approximately two years when procedures were revamped by PublicRelations and Governmental Affairs. Prior to that SBBC‘s legal department dictated the process.Major changes included an improved tracking system, and providing cost estimates prior toundertaking response action. Requests are generated by facsimile, e-mail, mail, and walk-intraffic as pictorially represented in Chart 8, Appendix Q. No action is undertaken without firstobtaining a tracking number from Governmental Affairs. The records specialist adheres to a hardand fast first in, first out rule for handling requests. Exceptions are made only for time sensitivematters, or by directive from upper management. Optiscan has been in place for approximatelyten years, and has enabled self-service document retrieval by department staff as needed,resulting in a reduction of interaction between department staff and personnel in the documentsmanagement office. Visits from the audit department, however, have increased significantly
  38. 38. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 32 of 91since July 2009. Auditors come by on a monthly basis to review documents. Prior visits occurredtwo to three times per year. In discussing possible areas for improvement, the records specialist indicated frustrationin knowing that there are documents that are not being captured. This is a logistical problemoccasioned by the physical plant layout at FCM. The facility is located in an old elementaryschool comprised of ten freestanding structures, each with its own facsimile machine. Therecords specialist has advocated for having a single facsimile machine for the department at itsnew facility when it relocates during the first quarter of next year. A suggestion was also made toincorporate an online interactive, or e-mail linked public records request on the FCM web site.Division management is ostensibly considering both suggestions. As reflected in Appendix R, Chart 9, a review of the data logged for document requestsduring the eighteen-month period studied revealed that inquiries peaked at 31 in March of 2009,and trended downward to a low of one in April 2010. Overall average equates to 8.67transactions per month. Over eighty-seven percent of responses were provided either by directcontact between the records specialist‘s office, or by giving instructions for retrieval ofinformation from the FCM web site.Remaining requests were: referred to a project manager,4.49 percent; outsourced for copy service, 2.56 percent; and 5.13 percent designated as droppedreflects documents no longer needed by the party making the request. Chart 10, Appendix Scharts these responses. Also in Appendix S is Chart 11, which tracks fees collected. No costanalysis was conducted, but a look at amounts collected is useful in estimating the size of theresponse as it relates to paper usage. Based on reported fees at $.15 per page, sizeable projectsinclude four in the 50 to 130-page range, four between 130 and 200 pages, four with page countsranging from 200 to 330 pages, three comprised of 330 to 530 pages, and one at more than 530
  39. 39. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 33 of 91pages. About four and a half percent of document requests were outsourced, but no indicationwas given concerning either the cost or the number of pages involved. Parties submitting document requests during the eighteen-month period evaluated werecategorized into the following subsets: architects, attorneys, consultants, contractors, media,subcontractors, and other. Contractors submitted the bulk of requests at 81 percent of totalinquiries. As revealed in Chart 12, Appendix T, they were followed by attorneys ranked at eightpercent, subcontractors with four percent, consultants showing three percent, architectscomprising two percent, and both media and other subsets registering at one percent. Though lessdiverse than stakeholders involved in the information process, this finding provides furthersupport for hypothesis 1. Comparison of graphic renderings reveals a strong correlation between requesting partiesand subject matter. Appendix U, Chart 13 depicts the overall breakdown by subject, and Chart14reflectsthe breakdown of queries concerning document inquiries unrelated to the bid process. Bidads, bid process, pre-bid, and post bid requests account for over seventy percent of totaldocument requests. After segregating these transactions from the total, project specificinformation, drawings and specifications, and payment inquiries topped requests at twentypercent each. Contract documents ranked mid-range at a13.33 percentshare. Appointments forreview only purposes, i.e. no copies delivered, comprised 8.89 percent of total, as did requestsfor QSEC documents and miscellaneous information.This data on document subject matter offersadditional strong support for hypothesis 2. Overall monthly volume distribution is as reflected inChart 15, Appendix V. Inasmuch as bid-related documents dominated the fulfillment process during thiseighteen-month period, this subset was further evaluated by comparing requests with information
  40. 40. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 34 of 91currently contained in the Demandstar database posted on the FCM website. Dates provided inthat database pertaining to advertisement, submittal deadline, and score tabulation were trackedagainst pre-bid and post bid request data. In this instance, pre-bid incorporated the bid ads andbid process request categories. The results are displayed in Chart 16, Appendix W. At first blushit appears that there is an anomaly in that post bid document requests preceded bid processcompletion. It is possible that there was some misinterpretation concerning data retrieved fromhard copy records; however, review of inquiry responses provides another probable indication.Of the nearly twenty percentof requests fulfilled through referral to the FCM website, themajority related to post bid matters including requests for score sheets, awarded contracts, bidtabulations, and similar items. Many were submitted prior to award of contract and includednotification concerning the timing involved in the bid process. Evaluation results pertaining to response time for this office should be reasonablyaccurate. Each request, with few exceptions, referenced date of inquiry, date of receipt by FCM,and fulfillment date. Nearly sixty percent of responses are completed the same day as the inquirywas received. Within two days, total deliveries constituted eighty percent of total received. Chart17, Appendix X graphs fulfillment trends. Longer response times on the balance of transactionscan be attributed to the size of the request, i.e. total number of documents involved in a singlerequest, delays occasioned by awaiting approval of cost estimates, and time elapsed inattempting to fulfill dropped requests, e.g. the party no longer neededor wantedthe documentsrequested.This data indicates excellent response time. As the data relating to production ofdocuments is more reliable than the results obtained concerning the information process, thisfinding offers more convincing support of hypothesis 5 that FCM is in compliance with SBBCpolicy and Sunshine laws.
  41. 41. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 35 of 91The Media Connection As originally conceptualized, it was contemplated that this study would includeevaluation of media impact on FCM‘s information management process. Little was uncovered inthe way of media information requests in the data available for review. Only two requestsdirectly attributable to media usage were found. One was a request from a student journalistconcerning construction projects. The other came from a Sun-Sentinel reporter seekingdocuments pertaining to an ADA contract administration issue. An article questioning thepropriety of the contract award was published nine days after the documents were delivered. Media representatives make direct contact with the Deputy Superintendent‘s office. Onlyrequests for documents flow through the Referral process. FCM follows media contact protocolas posted on the Public Relations and Government Affairs website. Additionally, journalists areable to obtain information via other sources such as the minutes for school board meetings andworkshops, as well as from the offices of the superintendent and board members. A review ofThe Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel archives for the period July 1, 2008through June 30, 2010, produced a significant volume of articles. Excluding letters to theeditor,those containing mention of the DS and ADS that related in some manner to SBBCoperations involving FCM are chronicled ina bibliography of those articleswhich appears inAppendix Y. Relatively little coverage occurred during the first year of this study; eight articleswere returned the query response. There was an850 percent increase in articles published fromJune 1st through December 31, 2009. Coverage decreased from January 1st through June 30,2010, to approximately 41 percent of the volume for the preceding six-month period. The absence of any empirical data relating to media contact in the information requests
  42. 42. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 36 of 91logs or document requests records, compounded by the time constraints of this project precludesfurther evaluationat this time. Attempting to make any correlation between the media and thedepartment‘s information management process would constitute an undertaking that exceeds thescope of this study.Accordingly, although partially supported by findings on the informationprocess, additional analysis is required to properly test hypothesis 3 concerning the impact ofexternal factors and media coverage.
  43. 43. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 37 of 91 Recommendations Based on the results of this evaluation FCM‘s information request process and documentrequest process appear to be functioning efficiently. Should there be an interest in improving orenhancing these processes, this report contains sufficient data that can be used to identifypossible areas for improvement. Addressing the Records Specialist‘s concerns regarding documents not being captured,the suggestion that the department have a single facsimile source is highly recommended, andcan be easily implemented upon relocation to new facilities. In the interim, a potentialmechanism to help facilitate document capture might be to post a notice by each of the facsimilemachines spread across the campus reminding personnel of the need to ensure proper handling ofdocuments. This message could be reinforced by a repeat appearance of quality control concernson staff meeting agendas. The suggestion, also offered by the Records Specialist, that a web-based documentrequest system be implemented also has merit and bears further consideration. Electronicprocessing of document requests would enhance control and monitoring. An update of theContracts portion of the web site shouldalso be considered to enhance effectiveness, withcompletion to coincide with implementation of any web-based interactive system. Revampingthe site to provide information on the bidding and contract award process in a more user-friendlyformat for the benefit of stakeholders is recommended. As an aside, the Departments & Directorslist posted on SBBC‘s web site needs to be updated concerning Facilities personnel. The Records Specialist advised that the Document Request and Receipt form is obsoleteand in the process of being revised. Along the lines of document revision, consideration should
  44. 44. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 38 of 91be given to creating a form web-referral response on department letterhead that can betransmitted electronically by e-mail, or sent by facsimile. The practice employed in distributinginstructions on how to access bid tabulations, for example, was to affix typewritten instructionsto a copy of the original request which was then sent back by facsimile to the party who placedthe inquiry. A form on official letterhead has a more professional appearance. There is one final recommendation. The information professional and documentsspecialist have extensive knowledge and experience with FCM‘s information process. In theeventuality that either should retire or otherwise vacate their position, consideration should begiven to succession planning with regard to these vital functions.
  45. 45. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 39 of 91 APPENDIX A Precedent-Setting FOIA LitigationEPA v. Mink, 410 U.S. 73 (1973) – agencies must release segregable information from partially exempt document.Vaugn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973) – Vaughn index of withheld documents must be prepared and justification for withholding provided.National Parks & Conservation Assn. v. Morton, 498 F.2d 765 (D.C. Cir. 1974) – establishes tests for whether information provided to the government can be withheld as ―confidential‖.NLRB v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.IU, 421 U.S. 132 (1975) – elaboration on deliberative process.Open America v. Watergate Special Prosecution Force, 547 F.2d 605 (D.C. Cir. 1976) – procedures for agencies in handling backlogs of FOIA requests, and circumstances under which an agency can obtain an Open America stay. (Open America stay subsequently restricted by the 1996 Amendment)Phillippi v. CIA, 546 F.2d 1009 (D.C. Cir. 1976) – approval of agency response of ―neither confirm nor deny‖ under national security exemption.Kissinger v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 445 U.S. 136 (1980) – the Office of the President is not an agency for purposes of FOIA.Forsham v. Harris, 445 U.S. 169 (1980) – agency must first either create or obtain a record before it becomes an ―agency record‖.U.S. Dep’t of State v. Washington Post Co., 456 U.S. 595 (1982) – affords broad interpretation to personnel, medical, and similar files.
  46. 46. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 40 of 91 APPENDIX A-2 Precedent Setting FOIA Litigation-2FBI v. Abramson, 456 U.S. 615 (1982) – information originally compiled for law enforcement purpose and the recompiled into a non-law enforcement records can still be protected.U.S. Dep’t of Justice v. Julian, 486 U.S. 1 (1988) – FOIA exemption should not be invoked to protect the requester from him/herself.U.S. Dep’t of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749 (1989) – guidance on privacy interests, on defining ‖public interest‖, and balancing interests.U.S. Dep’t of Justice v. Tax Analysts, 492 U.S. 136 (1989) – record must be under the agency‘s control at the time of the FOIA request.Critical Mass Energy Project v. NRC, 975 F.2d 871 (D.C. Cir. 1992) – new test for protecting information that has been ―voluntarily‖ provided.U.S. Dep’t of Justice v. Landano, 508 U.S. 165 (1993) – agency must show specific circumstances to have an expectation of confidentiality.Armstrong v. Executive Office of he President, 1 F.3d 1274 (D.C. Cir. 1993) – both electronic and printed versions of e-mail message may be federal records. Agencies may be sued for not meeting obligations to manage e-mail records. Provision for court review of President‘s guidelines for managing presidential records.(Nisbet, 2000)
  47. 47. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 41 of 91 APPENDIX B Florida Constitution: Article I – Declaration of RightsSECTION 24. Access to public records and meetings. — (a) Every person has the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received inconnection with the official business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state, orpersons acting on their behalf, except with respect to records exempted pursuant to this section orspecifically made confidential by this Constitution. This section specifically includes thelegislative, executive, and judicial branches of government and each agency or departmentcreated thereunder; counties, municipalities, and districts; and each constitutional officer, board,and commission, or entity created pursuant to law or this Constitution. I This section shall be self-executing. The legislature, however, may provide by general lawpassed by a two-thirds vote of each house for the exemption of records from the requirements ofsubsection … , provided that such law shall state with specificity the public necessity justifyingthe exemption and shall be no broader than necessary to accomplish the stated purpose of thelaw. The legislature shall enact laws governing the enforcement of this section, including themaintenance, control, destruction, disposal, and disposition of records made public by thissection, except that each house of the legislature may adopt rules governing the enforcement ofthis section in relation to records of the legislative branch. Laws enacted pursuant to thissubsection shall contain only exemptions from the requirements of subsections (a) or (b) andprovisions governing the enforcement of this section, and shall relate to one subject. (d) All laws that are in effect on July 1, 1993 that limit public access to records or meetingsshall remain in force, and such laws apply to records of the legislative and judicial branches,until they are repealed. Rules of court that are in effect on the date of adoption of this section thatlimit access to records shall remain in effect until they are repealed.History.—Added, C.S. for C.S. for H.J.R.‘s 1727, 863, 2035, 1992; adopted 1992; Am. S.J.R.1284, 2002; adopted 2002 (State of Florida).
  48. 48. FCM Information Management J. Rada Page 42 of 91 APPENDIX C SBBC Policy Number1343.000“1 3 4 3INSPECTION & EXAMINATION OF PUBLIC RECORDSEVERY PERSON WHO HAS CUSTODY OF A PUBLIC RECORD SHALL PERMIT. THERECORD TO BE INSPECTED ANDEXAMINED BY ANY PERSON DESIRING TO DO SO,AT ANY REASONABLE TIME, UNDER REASONABLE CONDITIONSAND UNDERSUPERVISION BY THE CUSTODIAN (DESIGNEE) OF THE PUBLIC RECORD. THERULES LISTED BELOWSHALL COVER THE CHARGES FOR THIS SERVICE.AUTHORITY: F. S. 230.22 (1) (2)F. S. 119.07Policy Adopted: 1 0 / 1 6 / 9 0 AMENDED RULES APPROVED: 6 / 2 / 9 2RULES1 . For duplicated copies of not more than 14‖ x 8 1/2‖ in size, a fee of fifteen (15) cents per one-sided copy shall becharged. For all other copies, the actual cost of the copy shall be charged. Forpurposes of this rule, ―actual cost‖shall mean the cost of materials and supplies used to duplicatethe record, but not the labor cost or overhead cost.2 . The Board shall charge an additional five (5) cents (total of twenty {20} cents) for each two-sided duplicated copy.3 . The Board authorizes the Superintendent to charge an additional reasonable charge for thelabor and overheadassociated with the duplication of oversized documents, such as maps,photographs, blueprints, computer reports and labels, etc.4 . If the nature or volume of public records requested to be inspected, examined, or copied issuch as to requireextensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical orsupervisory assistance by districtpersonnel, the Superintendent (designee) may charge in additionto the actual cost of the duplication, the laborcost of the personnel providing the service. Forpurposes of this rule, ―extensive‖ means that it will take morethan fifteen (15) minutes to locate,review for confidential information, copy and refile the requested material.5. 4. The Board may charge up to one dollar ($1.00) per copy for a certified copy of a publicrecord.AUTHORITY: F. S. 230.22 (1) (2)F. S. 119.07RULES ADOPTED: 10/16/90 AMENDED RULES ADOPTED: 6/2/92‖ (School Board ofBroward County, nd a).