Buncombe County Submitted: April 19, 2022 | Updated: October 19, 2022

(April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

Hello Buncombe County, NC Government (Records Officer),

I'd like to make a public records request for the following information under NC Public Records Law.
Ref: https://www.ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bychapter/chapter_132.html

Please provide all text messages and emails sent to and sent from the County Manager from 01/01/2020 through present day (date the query is performed). This request is not subject specific – I’m looking for “all” responsive records during the requested time period.

Where applicable – Please include all .PDFs, files, attachments, videos, hyperlinks, photos, etc. that are indicated within the responsive records. For example: A .PDF that is an attachment within an email or text record, should also be provided as an accompanying file.

** If you are unable to fulfill any or all parts of this request, please specifically cite where a reason for denial is justified under NC Public Records Law. **

Thank you for your assistance!

Editor’s Note: Sunshine Request makes no claim as to the veracity of any statements or information contained in any of the requests, or public records, we receive.

Status: In Review

Activity:

  • October 19, 2022 5:28 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>, Avril Pinder <[email protected]>, Dakisha Wesley <[email protected]>
    date: Oct 19, 2022, 5:28 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hi Kassi,

     

    Thank you for your reply.

     

    I do not feel that this response specifically addresses all of the emails and bolded items from our previous emails asking for clarification since Jul 12, 2022, 3:12 PM. I will need time to discuss your message with Patrick, and we will consider how we may like to proceed.

     

    We will be back in touch with you as soon as we are able. I’d ask that you please leave the request “Open” and do not close it in the meantime.

     

    Thanks so much for your assistance!

     

    ~ Lauren (and the Sunshine Request Team)

     

    Editor’s Note to sender 10/19/22: Our team will review the response from Kassi, determine any next steps, and follow up with Buncombe County as soon as we are able. Any updates we receive or post, will be added to the request above. Thank you for using www.sunshinerequest.com !


    Status: In Review
  • October 19, 2022 5:04 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Kassi L. Day <[email protected]>
    to: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>, Avril Pinder <[email protected]>, Dakisha Wesley <[email protected]>
    date: Oct 19, 2022, 5:04 PM
    subject: RE: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hello Sunshine, thanks for your email. As we mentioned earlier our intent is not to deny this request, with any other requestor we would be able to work with them to narrow the scope to help determine and find what they were looking for, and we are simply asking for the same accommodations from you.

     

    Your client is asking for 2+ years of all emails back and forth to the County Manager and as we have advised you there are more than 650,000 emails. We acknowledge that this request can be fulfilled, however, we simply do not have the staff to comply with the request. Per NCGS 132-6.2, if the request is such as to require extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the agency involved then the agency may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special service charge, which shall be reasonable and shall be based on the actual cost incurred for such extensive labor costs of the personnel providing the services that is actually incurred by the agency or attributable to the agency, an agency may charge a special service charge for the personnel providing the services.

     

    In accordance with GS 132-6(c), this fee will not apply for any time required to identify and redact confidential information or for other legal review.

     

    We remain open to discussion of any reasonable accommodation in order to proceed to comply with the request in any reasonable timeframe.


    Status: Response Received from Government
  • October 14, 2022 12:47 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Dakisha Wesley <[email protected]>
    to: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    date: Oct 14, 2022, 12:47 PM
    subject: Automatic reply: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Greetings – I am currently out of the office. If you have an important and urgent matter, please contact Jennifer Aviles at [email protected].

     

    Best regards – DK Wesley (she/her/hers)

     

    Assistant County Manager

    Buncombe County Government


    Status: Follow up
  • October 14, 2022 12:46 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>,
    [email protected],
    Dakisha Wesley <[email protected]>
    date: Oct 14, 2022, 12:46 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    I’m following up with you for the 5th time, regarding Patrick’s reply to you both on August 22. (Please see Copied below).

     

    We remained concerned that the County may be intentionally delaying their response / fulfillment of the request above, by continuing to ignore this email. Particularly — since we have been receiving replies from Kassi regarding other records requests we’ve made.

     

    The County is required to process all valid public records requests under NC Public Records Law, and do so as promptly as possible. I’d like to highlight the court case referenced in item #6 of the following article, posted on the NC Press Association website. In this instance: “The trial court held that an unjustified one-month delay in production of records was tantamount to a denial”. http://www.ncpress.com/stories/a-bakers-dozen-for-2022nc-public-records-law,2390

     

    We respectfully ask once again that staff take immediate action to resolve this issue, and ensure that ALL public records requests are being fulfilled and responded to as required under NC Public Records Law.

     

    We will plan to follow up again at the end of the month if we do not hear back.

     

    Thank you!

     

    – Lauren (and the Sunshine Request Team)
    ——————————


    ** Mon, Aug 22, 11:27am

     

    Kassi,

     

    Thank you for your response. While I’m happy to have a discussion regarding the appropriate interpretation of the statute, I respectfully request that we first revisit the specific questions posed in my previous email regarding the County’s process to fulfill requests of this type. Specifically, I remain unclear why a public records request for emails would require the extensive use of IT resources or personnel – beyond the need to separate out confidential information:

     

    Furthermore, I am not clear why this request would necessitate such a time consuming review process. I understand that you have already performed a search query indicating that 650K responsive emails exist. The County has previously provided us with exports in PST or MSG format, and we assume that all 650K messages can be exported relatively quickly.

     

    For clarity, we are not asking the County to filter, sort, or review the individual messages in any way. We are simply requesting that the County search for responsive records and provide them to us in their native format.

     

    Can you please clarify whether the County can fulfill the request in this manner?

     

    If not, can you please clarify the tasks that clerical staff need to complete, besides querying and exporting the messages? In our experience, the time consuming portion of fulfilling requests for emails is typically required due to a need to separate out confidential information.

     

    I believe the County does possess modern tools that allow for emails to be queried and exported in an efficient manner. As a result, I do not understand what portion of this process would require extensive resources.

     

    The County may commingle public records with confidential information in your email systems. While such a situation may require manual review of records, NCGS 132-6(c) makes clear that the “public agency shall bear the cost of such separation.”

     

    I’d be happy to schedule a call to discuss these matters further. However, I respectfully request answers to my questions above to ensure I have an appropriate understanding of the County’s process, including which steps may be especially time consuming.

     

    ~ Patrick Conant (and the Sunshine Request Team)


    Status: Follow up
  • September 30, 2022 11:52 am

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>,
    [email protected]
    date: Sep 29, 2022, 11:52 AM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hi Kassi and Michael (Avril CCed),

     

    I’m following up with you for the 4th time, regarding Patrick’s reply to you both on August 22. (Please see Copied below).

     

    We are concerned that the County may be intentionally delaying their response / fulfillment of the request above, by continuing to ignore this email. Particularly — since we have been receiving replies recently from Kassi regarding other records requests we’ve made.

     

    The County is required to process all valid public records requests under NC Public Records Law, and do so as promptly as possible. I’d like to highlight the court case referenced in item #6 of the following article, posted on the NC Press Association website. In this instance: “The trial court held that an unjustified one-month delay in production of records was tantamount to a denial”. http://www.ncpress.com/stories/a-bakers-dozen-for-2022nc-public-records-law,2390

     

    We respectfully ask that staff take immediate action to resolve this issue, and ensure that ALL public records requests are being fulfilled and responded to as required under NC Public Records Law.

     

    We will plan to follow up again next month if we have not heard back.

     

    Thank you!

    – Lauren (and the Sunshine Request Team)


    ** Mon, Aug 22, 11:27am

     

    Kassi,

     

    Thank you for your response. While I’m happy to have a discussion regarding the appropriate interpretation of the statute, I respectfully request that we first revisit the specific questions posed in my previous email regarding the County’s process to fulfill requests of this type. Specifically, I remain unclear why a public records request for emails would require the extensive use of IT resources or personnel – beyond the need to separate out confidential information:

     

    Furthermore, I am not clear why this request would necessitate such a time consuming review process. I understand that you have already performed a search query indicating that 650K responsive emails exist. The County has previously provided us with exports in PST or MSG format, and we assume that all 650K messages can be exported relatively quickly.

     

    For clarity, we are not asking the County to filter, sort, or review the individual messages in any way. We are simply requesting that the County search for responsive records and provide them to us in their native format.

     

    Can you please clarify whether the County can fulfill the request in this manner?

     

    If not, can you please clarify the tasks that clerical staff need to complete, besides querying and exporting the messages? In our experience, the time consuming portion of fulfilling requests for emails is typically required due to a need to separate out confidential information.

     

    I believe the County does possess modern tools that allow for emails to be queried and exported in an efficient manner. As a result, I do not understand what portion of this process would require extensive resources.

     

    The County may commingle public records with confidential information in your email systems. While such a situation may require manual review of records, NCGS 132-6(c) makes clear that the “public agency shall bear the cost of such separation.”

     

    I’d be happy to schedule a call to discuss these matters further. However, I respectfully request answers to my questions above to ensure I have an appropriate understanding of the County’s process, including which steps may be especially time consuming.

     

    ~ Patrick Conant (and the Sunshine Request Team)


    Status: Follow up
  • September 20, 2022 1:18 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: Sep 20, 2022, 1:18 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hi Kassi,

     

    I’m following up again on Patrick’s previous email to you and Michael from August 22. Please see Copied below.

     

    Thank you!

     

    – Lauren (and the Sunshine Request Team)
    —————

     

    ** Mon, Aug 22, 11:27am

     

    Kassi,

     

    Thank you for your response. While I’m happy to have a discussion regarding the appropriate interpretation of the statute, I respectfully request that we first revisit the specific questions posed in my previous email regarding the County’s process to fulfill requests of this type. Specifically, I remain unclear why a public records request for emails would require the extensive use of IT resources or personnel – beyond the need to separate out confidential information:

     

    Furthermore, I am not clear why this request would necessitate such a time consuming review process. I understand that you have already performed a search query indicating that 650K responsive emails exist. The County has previously provided us with exports in PST or MSG format, and we assume that all 650K messages can be exported relatively quickly.

     

    For clarity, we are not asking the County to filter, sort, or review the individual messages in any way. We are simply requesting that the County search for responsive records and provide them to us in their native format.

     

    Can you please clarify whether the County can fulfill the request in this manner?

     

    If not, can you please clarify the tasks that clerical staff need to complete, besides querying and exporting the messages? In our experience, the time consuming portion of fulfilling requests for emails is typically required due to a need to separate out confidential information.

     

    I believe the County does possess modern tools that allow for emails to be queried and exported in an efficient manner. As a result, I do not understand what portion of this process would require extensive resources.

     

    The County may commingle public records with confidential information in your email systems. While such a situation may require manual review of records, NCGS 132-6(c) makes clear that the “public agency shall bear the cost of such separation.”

     

    I’d be happy to schedule a call to discuss these matters further. However, I respectfully request answers to my questions above to ensure I have an appropriate understanding of the County’s process, including which steps may be especially time consuming.

     

    ~ Patrick Conant (and the Sunshine Request Team)


    Status: Follow up
  • September 9, 2022 11:36 am

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: Sep 9, 2022, 11:36 AM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hi Kassi,

     

    I’m following up Patrick’s previous email to you and Michael on August 22. See Copied below.

     

    Thank you!

     

    – Lauren (and the Sunshine Request Team)
    —————

     

    ** Mon, Aug 22, 11:27am

     

    Kassi,

     

    Thank you for your response. While I’m happy to have a discussion regarding the appropriate interpretation of the statute, I respectfully request that we first revisit the specific questions posed in my previous email regarding the County’s process to fulfill requests of this type. Specifically, I remain unclear why a public records request for emails would require the extensive use of IT resources or personnel – beyond the need to separate out confidential information:

     

    Furthermore, I am not clear why this request would necessitate such a time consuming review process. I understand that you have already performed a search query indicating that 650K responsive emails exist. The County has previously provided us with exports in PST or MSG format, and we assume that all 650K messages can be exported relatively quickly.

     

    For clarity, we are not asking the County to filter, sort, or review the individual messages in any way. We are simply requesting that the County search for responsive records and provide them to us in their native format.

     

    Can you please clarify whether the County can fulfill the request in this manner?

     

    If not, can you please clarify the tasks that clerical staff need to complete, besides querying and exporting the messages? In our experience, the time consuming portion of fulfilling requests for emails is typically required due to a need to separate out confidential information.

     

    I believe the County does possess modern tools that allow for emails to be queried and exported in an efficient manner. As a result, I do not understand what portion of this process would require extensive resources.

     

    The County may commingle public records with confidential information in your email systems. While such a situation may require manual review of records, NCGS 132-6(c) makes clear that the “public agency shall bear the cost of such separation.”

     

    I’d be happy to schedule a call to discuss these matters further. However, I respectfully request answers to my questions above to ensure I have an appropriate understanding of the County’s process, including which steps may be especially time consuming.

     

    ~ Patrick Conant (and the Sunshine Request Team)


    Status: Follow up
  • August 22, 2022 11:27 am

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: Aug 22, 2022, 11:27 AM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Kassi,

     

    Thank you for your response. While I’m happy to have a discussion regarding the appropriate interpretation of the statute, I respectfully request that we first revisit the specific questions posed in my previous email regarding the County’s process to fulfill requests of this type. Specifically, I remain unclear why a public records request for emails would require the extensive use of IT resources or personnel – beyond the need to separate out confidential information:

     

    Furthermore, I am not clear why this request would necessitate such a time consuming review process. I understand that you have already performed a search query indicating that 650K responsive emails exist. The County has previously provided us with exports in PST or MSG format, and we assume that all 650K messages can be exported relatively quickly.

     

    For clarity, we are not asking the County to filter, sort, or review the individual messages in any way. We are simply requesting that the County search for responsive records and provide them to us in their native format.

     

    Can you please clarify whether the County can fulfill the request in this manner?

     

    If not, can you please clarify the tasks that clerical staff need to complete, besides querying and exporting the messages? In our experience, the time consuming portion of fulfilling requests for emails is typically required due to a need to separate out confidential information.

     

    I believe the County does possess modern tools that allow for emails to be queried and exported in an efficient manner. As a result, I do not understand what portion of this process would require extensive resources.

     

    The County may commingle public records with confidential information in your email systems. While such a situation may require manual review of records, NCGS 132-6(c) makes clear that the “public agency shall bear the cost of such separation.”

     

    I’d be happy to schedule a call to discuss these matters further. However, I respectfully request answers to my questions above to ensure I have an appropriate understanding of the County’s process, including which steps may be especially time consuming.

     

    ~ Patrick Conant (and the Sunshine Request Team)


    Status: Clarification Requested
  • August 22, 2022 10:13 am

    1 year ago

    from: Kassi L. Day <[email protected]>
    to: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: Aug 22, 2022, 10:13 AM
    subject: RE: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hello Sunshine, Thank you for your recent email regarding fees and records requests. With respect, we point out that a special service charge is not limited to extensive use of information technology resources. Rather, as is reflected in the plain language of statute and as captured in your latest email, the special service charge also includes extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the agency involved.

     

    Your request requires labor costs that would not otherwise be incurred by the County.

     

    GS §132-6.2(b) Persons requesting copies of public records may request that the copies be certified or uncertified. The fees for certifying copies of public records shall be as provided by law. Except as otherwise provided by law, no public agency shall charge a fee for an uncertified copy of a public record that exceeds the actual cost to the public agency of making the copy. For purposes of this subsection, “actual cost” is limited to direct, chargeable costs related to the reproduction of a public record as determined by generally accepted accounting principles and does not include costs that would have been incurred by the public agency if a request to reproduce a public record had not been made. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, if the request is such as to require extensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the agency involved, or if producing the record in the medium requested results in a greater use of information technology resources than that established by the agency for reproduction of the volume of information requested, then the agency may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special service charge, which shall be reasonable and shall be based on the actual cost incurred for such extensive use of information technology resources or the labor costs of the personnel providing the services, or for a greater use of information technology resources that is actually incurred by the agency or attributable to the agency. If anyone requesting public information from any public agency is charged a fee that the requester believes to be unfair or unreasonable, the requester may ask the State Chief Information Officer or his designee to mediate the dispute.

     

    We understand that you are familiar with the process involved in asking the State Chief Information Officer to mediate such a dispute.

     

    Once again, we welcome the opportunity to sit down and discuss.

     

    Thank you.


    Status: Response Received from Government
  • August 15, 2022 1:49 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: Aug 15, 2022, 1:49 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hi Kassi and Michael,

     

    I’m following up on Patrick’s previous message above from Jul 12, 2022, 3:12pm. Can you please confirm receipt?

     

    We’re expecting the County to clarify those items, and to move forward to fulfill this valid request, or, to provide an explanation for the delay / denial.

     

    Thank you for your assistance!

     

    Lauren (and the Sunshine Request Team)

     

    **Editor’s Note: We will plan on following up again on this request in September if we don’t hear back before then. Thank you for using Sunshine Request!


    Status: Clarification Requested
  • July 12, 2022 3:12 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]> cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: Jul 12, 2022, 3:12 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Kassi,

     

    My name is Patrick Conant, and I am the Director of Sunshine Request.

     

    Thank you for providing this additional information – I’ve reviewed the details of the request, and I wanted to follow up with you directly.

     

    Our team is familiar with the provisions of NCGS 132-6.2, but I want to quote the statute here for clarity (emphasis added by me):

     

    §132-6.2 (b) “… Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, if the request is such as to require extensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the agency involved, or if producing the record in the medium requested results in a greater use of information technology resources than that established by the agency for reproduction of the volume of information requested, then the agency may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special service charge, which shall be reasonable and shall be based on the actual cost incurred for such extensive use of information technology resources or the labor costs of the personnel providing the services, or for a greater use of information technology resources that is actually incurred by the agency or attributable to the agency. If anyone requesting public information from any public agency is charged a fee that the requester believes to be unfair or unreasonable, the requester may ask the State Chief Information Officer or his designee to mediate the dispute.”

     

    Your description of the statute omits the repeated mention of information technology resources, and that language is important to a correct interpretation of the statute. 132-6.2(b) does not authorize government agencies to assess a special service charge simply because a request would be time consuming to fulfill. This statute clearly limits special service charges solely to requests that involve an extensive use of information technology resources, as evidenced by the repeated use of the phrase as well as the fact that mediation process falls upon the state Chief Information Officer.

     

    Furthermore, I am not clear why this request would necessitate such a time consuming review process. I understand that you have already performed a search query indicating that 650K responsive emails exist. The County has previously provided us with exports in PST or MSG format, and we assume that all 650K messages can be exported relatively quickly.

     

    For clarity, we are not asking the County to filter, sort, or review the individual messages in any way. We are simply requesting that the County search for responsive records and provide them to us in their native format.

     

    Can you please clarify whether the County can fulfill the request in this manner?

     

    If not, can you please clarify the tasks that clerical staff need to complete, besides querying and exporting the messages? In our experience, the time consuming portion of fulfilling requests for emails is typically required due to a need to separate out confidential information.

     

    However, under NCGS §132-6 (c) “… If it is necessary to separate confidential from nonconfidential information in order to permit the inspection, examination, or copying of the public records, the public agency shall bear the cost of such separation.”

     

    If the County does not currently “label” or separate confidential emails from those that are public record, that is an internal issue that the County should address. However, it would not be appropriate to levy a special service charge for time spent separating confidential records from those matching the search query.

     

    I would ask County Staff to consider a court case from February 2022, Dunham v Whitaker, which considered a public records request for the Summerfield Town Manager’s emails:
    http://cdn1.creativecirclemedia.com/ncpress/files/20220331-140008-FS%20Order%20Dunham%20v%20Whitaker.pdf

     

    The judge ruled in favor of the Plaintiff and stated, in part:

     

    “The testimony suggests the Town Manager has created an added burden on himself by deciding not to utilize a system to flag or sort confidential records…

     

    Under the public records law, no public official may charge an extra fee or “special service charge” for performing the duties inherent to his or her position. The fact that the defendant has made those duties more complicated by his own
    practices does not justify assessing a special service charge to the Plaintiff.”

     

    A public records request for email records is a common request that any government agency should be expected to fulfill. This type of request should not require the extensive use of information technology resources, even if a particular request seeks a large number of records.

     

    In closing, I do want to clarify that the Sunshine Request team does not ask for, nor speculate on, the intent of an individual making a public records request.

     

    NC Public Records law states clearly:

     

    “The public records and public information compiled by the agencies of North Carolina government or its subdivisions are the property of the people. Therefore, it is the policy of this State that the people may obtain copies of their public records and public information free or at minimal cost unless otherwise specifically provided by law.”

     

    The public records requested were created through the use of taxpayer dollars, and any costs associated with fulfilling this request are also funded using taxpayer dollars. While I understand the limited circumstances under which a special service charge may be levied, this request does not meet the definition provided by statute. We respectfully request that Buncombe County fulfill this valid public records request.

     

    Patrick Conant
    Director, Sunshine Request


    Status: Clarification Requested
  • July 1, 2022 4:53 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Kassi L. Day <[email protected]>
    to: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: Jul 1, 2022, 4:53 PM
    subject: RE: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hello Sunshine, thanks for your email. Sorry for the delay, I was out last week. While our intent is not to deny this request, with any other requestor we would be able to work with them to narrow the scope to help determine and find what they were looking for, and we are simply asking for the same accommodations from you.

     

    Your client is asking for 2+ years of all emails back and forth to the County Manager and as we have advised you there are more than 650,000 emails. We acknowledge that this request can be fulfilled, however, we simply do not have the staff to comply with the request. Per NCGS 132-6.2, if the request is such as to require extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the agency involved then the agency may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special service charge, which shall be reasonable and shall be based on the actual cost incurred for such extensive labor costs of the personnel providing the services than is actually incurred by the agency or attributable to the agency, an agency may charge a special service charge for the personnel providing the services.

     

    It would be very hard to predict the time it could possibly take, but it is reasonable to state that it may take a full-time clerical staff a year to review the 650,000 emails sorting through and stopping here and there to request guidance, that could total 2,080 hours at $15-$17/hour. We welcome the opportunity to negotiate a cost, and we remain open to discussion of any reasonable accommodation in order to proceed. If it is your client’s intent to have County staff spend a great deal of time and energy, as well as taxpayer dollars, spinning wheels to no real end then the County will have to charge a special service charge as authorized by GS 132.6.2. If, on the other hand, your client seeks some specific record that may, or may not, be found in the County Manager’s emails then we would be happy to develop a relevant query for the record and prepare a response as promptly as is practicable.

     

    Thank you,

    Kassi Day

    she/hers

    Communications & Public Engagement, PIO

    (828) 250-4119 / cell (828) 767-3226

    199 College St., Asheville, NC 28801

    Respect. Integrity. Collaboration. Honesty. Equity.


    Status: Clarification Provided
  • June 16, 2022 5:00 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: Jun 16, 2022, 5:00 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Good Afternoon Kassi (and Michael),

     

    I’m following up again on my response to Kassi’s email above on May 24. I have not heard back.

     

    Kassi indicated “… The email sweep returned 650,189 hits. This request is overly broad and unduly burdensome. There are an indeterminate number of personnel records, economic development matters, criminal investigation materials, sensitive public security information, emergency response plans, personally identifying information, attorney-client privileged communications, and other information that may not be disclosed without a court order. There is also information that is simply personal in nature. None of this material is public record. It took over two years to prepare, send, receive, read, and file all these emails, and it is not reasonable to expect a review of the material encompassing this request. If the requestor is looking for anything in particular, we could work to fulfill such request in a timely manner.”

     

    We understand this may be a large records request. However, we do not feel that NC Public Records Law allows Buncombe County to deny the fulfillment of a request solely because it is “broad” — We are not aware of any exemption for rejection of requests that are “voluminous”, “overly broad”, “vague”, or “burdensome”.

     

    Furthermore, NC Records Law clearly states that “… If it is necessary to separate confidential from nonconfidential information in order to permit the inspection, examination, or copying of the public records, the public agency shall bear the cost of such separation.”

     

    We respectfully ask again that County Legal cite where there is provision under NC Public Records Law permitting the denial or exemption to fulfillment of a request for being “overly broad” and “unduly burdensome”.

     

    I also want to highlight the court case referenced in item #6 of the following article, posted on the NC Press Association website. In this instance: “The trial court held that an unjustified one-month delay in production of records was tantamount to a denial”. http://www.ncpress.com/stories/a-bakers-dozen-for-2022nc-public-records-law,2390

     

    Please confirm that you are continuing to process the request, and if possible please provide an estimated timeline for completion.

     

    Thank you for your assistance!

     

    ~ The Sunshine Request Team


    Status: Follow up
  • June 7, 2022 3:34 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: Jun 7, 2022, 3:34 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hi Kassi (and Michael CCed),

     

    I’m following up again on my response to your email above from May 24:

     

    We understand this may be a large records request. However, we do not feel that NC Public Records Law allows Buncombe County to deny fulfillment of a request solely because it is “broad” — We are not aware of any exemption for rejection of requests that are “voluminous”, “overly broad”, “vague”, or “burdensome”.

     

    Furthermore, NC Records Law clearly states that “… If it is necessary to separate confidential from nonconfidential information in order to permit the inspection, examination, or copying of the public records, the public agency shall bear the cost of such separation.”

     

    We respectfully ask that the County’s legal team cite specifically where there is provision under NC Public Records Law permitting the denial or exemption to fulfillment of a request for being “overly broad” and “unduly burdensome”.

     

    Please confirm that you are continuing to process the request, and if possible please provide an estimated timeline for completion.

     

    Thank you for your assistance!

    ~ The Sunshine Request Team


    Status: Follow up
  • May 24, 2022 1:57 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: May 24, 2022, 1:57 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hi Kassi,

     

    Thank you for your reply.

     

    While we understand this is a large request, we do not feel that NC Public Records Law allows Buncombe County to deny its fulfillment solely because the request is “broad”. We are not aware of any exemption for rejection of requests that are “voluminous”, “overly broad”, “vague”, or “burdensome”.

     

    Furthermore, NC Records Law clearly states that “… If it is necessary to separate confidential from nonconfidential information in order to permit the inspection, examination, or copying of the public records, the public agency shall bear the cost of such separation.”

     

    We respectfully ask that the County’s legal team cite specifically where there is provision under NC Public Records Law permitting the denial or exemption to fulfillment of a request for being “overly broad” and “unduly burdensome”.

     

    Thank you for your assistance!

     

    ~ The Sunshine Request Team


    Status: Clarification Requested
  • May 24, 2022 12:32 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Kassi L. Day <[email protected]>
    to: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    cc: “Michael C. Frue” <[email protected]>
    date: May 24, 2022, 12:32 PM
    subject: RE: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hello Sunshine, Thank you, we did receive that message. The email sweep returned 650,189 hits. This request is overly broad and unduly burdensome. There are an indeterminate number of personnel records, economic development matters, criminal investigation materials, sensitive public security information, emergency response plans, personally identifying information, attorney-client privileged communications, and other information that may not be disclosed without a court order. There is also information that is simply personal in nature. None of this material is public record. It took over two years to prepare, send, receive, read, and file all these emails, and it is not reasonable to expect a review of the material encompassing this request. If the requestor is looking for anything in particular, we could work to fulfill such request in a timely manner. Thank you,


    Status: Response Received from Government
  • May 20, 2022 4:54 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    date: May 20, 2022, 4:54 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Good afternoon Kassi,

     

    I’m following up a second time on the email I sent on Apr 27, 2022, 2:52 PM regarding further clarification of this request. Please confirm you have received that message and have been continuing to process the request. If possible, please provide an estimated timeline for completion.

     

    Thank you!


    Status: Follow up
  • May 12, 2022 3:18 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    date: May 12, 2022, 3:18 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Good afternoon Kassi,

     

    I’m following up on the email I sent on Apr 27, 2022, 2:52 PM regarding further clarification of this request. Please confirm you have received that message and have been continuing to process the request. If possible, please provide an estimated timeline for completion.

     

    Thank you!


    Status: Follow up
  • April 27, 2022 2:52 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    date: Apr 27, 2022, 2:52 PM
    subject: Re: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hi Kassi,

     

    Thank you for your reply. I’ve noted this information on our site.

     

    If anyone other than our Team email ([email protected]) reaches out to you directly to pursue a similar request, please do not commingle or treat that as an alteration or cancellation of the request made by our Team. We intend to continue to pursue our request.

     

    As written the sender was clear they do not wish to further narrow the scope or the time period being requested. It is intentional that the request is not subject or keyword specific. They’d like “… all text messages and emails sent to and sent from the County Manager from 01/01/2020 through present day (date the query is performed).”

     

    I acknowledge this is a potentially “lengthy” request for your office to fulfill. Please let me know when you anticipate completion, and I will wait to follow up until a time you specify.

     

    Regarding your comment, “We ask the requestor to narrow the focus with a shorter timeframe or search terms if they would like us to proceed with this request.” – If you are denying any or all parts of the fulfillment of this request, please specifically cite where a reason for the denial is justified under NC Public Records Law.

     

    Thank you for your assistance!

     

    ~ Lauren (and Sunshine Request Team)


    Status: Clarification Provided
  • April 25, 2022 5:20 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Kassi L. Day <[email protected]>
    to: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    date: Apr 25, 2022, 5:20 PM
    subject: RE: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Hello Sunshine, thank you for your email. The request below is extremely broad and could require an extensive amount of staff time to review and process. We ask the requestor to narrow the focus with a shorter timeframe or search terms if they would like us to proceed with this request. I would also encourage this requestor to reach out to our office directly so that we may help them track down the specific information they might be looking for. Thank you,

     

    Kassi Day

    she/hers

    Communications & Public Engagement, PIO

    (828) 250-4119 / cell (828) 767-3226

    199 College St., Asheville, NC 28801

    Respect. Integrity. Collaboration. Honesty. Equity.


    Status: Clarification Requested
  • April 20, 2022 1:39 pm

    1 year ago

    from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
    to: “Kassi L. Day” <[email protected]>
    date: Apr 20, 2022, 1:39 PM
    subject: Records Request: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Good afternoon Buncombe County, NC (Records Officer),

     

    I’d like to make a public records request for information that may be available in your office.

     

    If you’re not the appropriate party to contact about the request, please provide the correct name and email address of whom I should send it to.

     

    Please confirm receipt to let me know the request will begin processing, and if possible, please provide a rough estimate of when the request may be completed. I will plan on following up again in early May if I have not heard back before then.

     

    Here are the details of the request:

     

    Subject: (April 2022) Request for Buncombe County, NC Government: All emails and texts sent to and from County Manager 01/01/2020 – present day

     

    Message: “Hello Buncombe County, NC Government (Records Officer),

     

    I’d like to make a public records request for the following information under NC Public Records Law.
    Ref: https://www.ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bychapter/chapter_132.html

     

    Please provide all text messages and emails sent to and sent from the County Manager from 01/01/2020 through present day (date the query is performed). This request is not subject specific – I’m looking for “all” responsive records during the requested time period.

     

    Where applicable – Please include all .PDFs, files, attachments, videos, hyperlinks, photos, etc. that are indicated within the responsive records. For example: A .PDF that is an attachment within an email or text record, should also be provided as an accompanying file.

     

    ** If you are unable to fulfill any or all parts of this request, please specifically cite where a reason for denial is justified under NC Public Records Law. **

     

    Thank you for your assistance!”

     

    Thank you!

     

    ** Sunshine Request (www.sunshinerequest.com) makes no claim as to the veracity of any statements or information contained in any of the requests, or public records, we receive.


    Status: Sent to Government
  • April 19, 2022 2:42 pm

    1 year ago

    Submitted to Sunshine Request
    Status: Pending