I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Getting Ahead of an Issue
Some might naively state "If a memo is voluntarily published, what difference does it make if it was or was not a public record prior to such a voluntary release?" Some might even say something really flippant like "What difference does that question make, if a memo is shared, that is the same as leaving the barn door open and letting the Horse out!"
Here's why asking the public record question is critically important:
If a memo is created by a public agency in the furtherance of its operation in the state of Florida--odds are that all or parts of it are a public record, either immediately or at some point in the very near future--except in some narrowly defined, very limited categories subject to exemption.
These things live forever.
If a memo is created and disseminated widely, and if it is a subject of contention or significant gnashing of teeth---odds are it will be revealed sooner rather than later.
So the feckless, ignorant, and utterly fetid assertion that such a record will not become a public record unless someone voluntarily releases it, or because someone voluntarily released it, is nothing but a ridiculous, naive, red herring.
The real issue of importance, the real matter at issue, is this:
Creation of memorandums that ultimately will become subjected to release under Florida's public records laws must be carefully considered, particularly if such memorandums might contain unseemly allegations, explosive claims, and/or potentially damaging or inaccurate conclusions.
So should such memos even be created at all, or under what dire circumstances should they be created? Shouldn't the process of creating such records be re-worked, with a thoughtful decision matrix put into place delineating the when and if of such record creations?
Because under the current environment and protocols, apparently, nobody knows when they might be the recipient of such a memo.....
Ans so yes, sometimes being proactive in the face of an issue or a potential issue is an appropriate action to take; It is called getting ahead of a problem. Intercepting and deflecting an attack. Contingency planning. Controlling spillage.
This is why it is not an uncommon practice among Bomb-Squads worldwide that encounter suspicious packages to blow up such potentially explosive items immediately. Often, these bomb-squads proactively, purposely blow up bombs they find so they can render these devices inert or they can control detonations, minimizing and/or isolating the extent of damage caused by such devices.
Think about it.