Brent Batten: No duplication of service in fulfilling records request

BRENT BATTEN
Collier Clerk of Courts Dwight Brock

Collier Clerk of Courts Dwight Brock

— Collier County's clerk of courts and its top administrators have been known to disagree over some pretty big matters.

Whether or not the clerk can audit books any times he wants. Whether checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars should be written.

Now we learn they can disagree over not-so-big things, too.

The clerk and the county administration, both citing the same ordinance, are charging different amounts to fulfill public records requests, with the clerk's rate about five times higher than that of the county manager's office.

John Barlow, an executive with Safelite Autoglass and before that Western Auto, last month made similar requests for public documents to both the clerk and the county staff.

Barlow, who has taken an interest in the workings of local government, got more than 1,300 documents from the county and only 374 from the clerk. He says he's currently going through all the documents to find out why the same request, copies for correspondence between the clerk's office and the office of County Commissioner Georgia Hiller, yielded such different results.

But one thing jumped out at him right away.

The county billed him $133.45 for the documents it produced, working out to about a dime per document. Brock's office billed him $209.40, or 56 cents per document.

State law and county ordinance allow agencies to charge for staff time associated with fulfilling extensive public records requests. That's where a great deal of the disparity shows up. The county invoice lists four hours of staff time at $28 per hour. Brock's lists one hour of staff time billed at $82 an hour and two hours of another staff member's time billed at $48.70 per hour.

An employee making $82 an hour would be paid about $170,000 a year. One making $48.70 would make $101,000. Are they the best candidates to make copies?

Barlow wonders.

Brock explains that the dollar figures cited account for wages and benefits, so the salaries are about 30 percent lower.

The $82 an hour employee is Crystal Kinzel, Brock's top assistant, whom he said had to look at all the records being released to make sure information statutorily exempt from disclosure, like Social Security numbers and data relating to ongoing audits, wasn't included. The other employee was a computer technician with the skills to search all the agency's email files looking for documents that fit the request. That required combing through the email accounts of all 180 employees of the clerk's office and even some private accounts those employees hold.

"The request he sent was very extensive and I wanted to give him exactly what he wanted," Brock said.

Another difference in the bills shows up in the amount Barlow was charged for the computer disc most of the documents were copied onto. The county charged 50 cents while Brock charged $30.

Brock says that's because the disc he provided had documents sorted by account holder and showed whether they were incoming or outgoing documents. That makes the trail of documents easy to read, as opposed to a long list of unorganized documents.

"You get something from the county, you get jibbidy josh," Brock said.

While Barlow agrees that the material from Brock's office was well-organized, he doesn't believe that justifies the $30 cost of the disc.

"Data transfer from a file onto a CD should have been quick and done electronically, not at a $30 cost," he noted.

Nor does Barlow accept the explanation of the cost of searching out and screening documents. Computer programs available through Microsoft Exchange can be set up to do searches.

"Production of historic emails is a basic requirement for most companies and governments, and it is simple to set up. I cannot agree that someone had to go through 180 employees looking for a match," he said.

Both Brock and Mike Sheffield, assistant to County Manager Leo Ochs, cite county ordinance 2007-327, which institutes a "uniform policy" for fees for providing public records, when explaining the costs charged to Barlow.

The nonuniform results of the uniform policy leaves Barlow scratching his head: "I know the Clerk and the (Board of County Commissioners) agency have been bickering for years, but it seems like they could get together on something as simple as giving the owners, the public, access to their documents at a reasonable and common price."

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Comments » 48

Independent_Thinker writes:

Brent, can you be a real reporter and find something to write about that affects the working people that pay your paycheck? Seriously, how many times can you go to the County Clerk or Fire District well???

Write about jobs. Write about what it takes to make it as a working family here. Write about how expensive it is to live here in Collier.

You are marginal as a writer, and if you think these bi-weekly page fillers are going to win you a Pulitzer...really??? Maybe Scripps can make you the editor for the funny pages.

Percy writes:

The real story may come from what the good citizen discovers when he reviews the documents!

intense writes:

As always --- when an issue in indefensible --- shoot the messenger.

Can you say 'hypocrisy'?

Brock plays the transparency and accountability card ad nauseum. In truth and in practice, he discourages both.

Believe the dog and pony show Brock provides or believe his actual actions. The two are worlds apart.

beekeeper writes:

Is this the same John Barlow that was President and CEO of Safelite when it filed for bankruptcy?

savethewhalz writes:

in response to Independent_Thinker:

Brent, can you be a real reporter and find something to write about that affects the working people that pay your paycheck? Seriously, how many times can you go to the County Clerk or Fire District well???

Write about jobs. Write about what it takes to make it as a working family here. Write about how expensive it is to live here in Collier.

You are marginal as a writer, and if you think these bi-weekly page fillers are going to win you a Pulitzer...really??? Maybe Scripps can make you the editor for the funny pages.

Agree, the article is somewhat picayune. Brings to mind a more important issue. Why does the public have to pay for government employee's to grind out public records with a copier when the information should be accessible online and free? Think about it. Independently.

jimjabber2 writes:

Brent and John,

A new low of reporting and complaining has been reached with this article.

Get a life! You both should be ashamed of yourselves.

wonderful (Inactive) writes:

Doesn't jibbidy josh work in fire review?

Their feud with Building and Zoning is quite a story and their performance rivals the housing authority!

Thank heavens for the clerk!

youngandhot writes:

Let me get this straight:

So the clerk charges five times more than the county for a public document.

The same clerk charges 60 (Yes, SIXTY) times more for a disc than the county does.

Ain't hard to figure this one:

Clerk wants to discourage public requests for records ... big time.

County, not so much.

genericuser writes:

Who in their right mind assigns a $170,000 a year employee the task of scouting through emails and records???

Makes it look like there was something to hide and he couldn't trust the regular office workers to do the task.

This is one of those things that makes me go hmmmmmmmmmmmmm..............

buffettfan writes:

Hey beekeeper:

Here is what a search of Barlow will get you:

Barlow joined Safelite in 1991 as Chief Operating Officer and has served as the company's President & Chief Executive Officer since 1997. Under his leadership, the company implemented a number of initiatives designed to improve customer service, operational efficiency and employee retention. These include Safelite's nationally recognized Performance Pay Plan for installation technicians, service- and productivity-focused mobile auto glass operations and new technologies to support the company's growing claims management business.

"Under John's leadership, Safelite has become a premier claims management company and an innovative leader in the auto glass industry. He leaves with a strong leadership team in place, the company in sound financial condition, and a course set for growth," said George Haymaker, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Safelite Glass Corp.

Obviously Safelite has not gone bankrupt. It appears there was a restructuring under Barlow that brought them out stronger than ever.

Safelite's budget and employee count is larger than all of Collier County. Barlow could probably teach Brock something about streamlining his 'business' and providing excellent customer service. Barlow could probably do it in his sleep and do it hundreds of times better than Brock.

Best not to awaken a sleeping giant, Brock.
Tread lightly.

FloridaNative writes:

So, the " Clerk " finally is exposed of his own cash cow. This is only the tip of the iceberg! Wait until a few of his former clerks expose a bit more......

marriedtwice writes:

I agree with Percy.

Yes, discouraging public viewing of public records by making the fees too high is and should be alarming to all of us.

But, the REALLY interesting thing about this story is that somebody is watching and weighing the contact Hiller and the Clerk have.

My friends who work at the 'complex' tell me that Hiller arrives empty handed ... goes into the clerk's offices ... and leaves several hours later armed with file folder after file folder. Apparently the clerk and his minions have loaded her up for bear for her next BCC meeting.

Watch closely at the BCC meetings and see clerk aide Kinzer slide notes and folders over to Hiller. It's as though Kinzer is the personal attache to Hiller.

All those overtime hours Hiller worked her assistant (before throwing her under the bus and claiming that she did NOT authorize ANY OT for the assistant) are probably nothing compared to all the time the clerk and his minions spend working for Hiller.

Hiller can't go anywhere without backup. Lately it's been Hiller and Brock doing the dog and pony show. Before that Hiller took her assistant to EVERYTHING.

While on TDC and most other county-related meetings or workshops, Hiller always makes sure Kinzer is there.

Does she really need this entourage?

No wonder Hiller moved to the Orange Blossum location. She obviously didn't want people to see what she's trying to stir up every waking minute of her day.

Yes. Stay tuned. The results of this public records search ought to be VERY VERY enlightening.

That tangled web Hiller and Brock have been weaving seems to be closing in on them. Can Tim Nance get himself untangled in time???? Don't know that he can or wants to.

marriedtwice writes:

Oh, I forgot the Texting.
Hiller is constantly texting. Rumor is it is often with the clerk and his office.
Hope those records are included in the public information request.
Is it even legal to text during a BCC meeting?

cornandbeans writes:

No doubt Hiller is a puppet. But, her puppeteer changes as easy as her last name. She is an "opportunistc woman" - substitute what ever adjetive you want for the quotes - that will throw anyone under the bus for her own ego.

Where, oh where, will the good commissioners come from. There isn't one person running for BCC with the background, qualifications, education, and impartiality required to be a good BCC.

That includes all incumbants.

I'm beginning to think the only way to effect change in Collier County is to move to another county.

beekeeper writes:

Hello buffetfan. I believe the "restructuring" you referenced was the bankruptcy filing when Barlow was President and CEO. And i believe it may have been due to excessive debt incurred during his reign.

buffettfan writes:

Hello beekeeper.
Well, I see the clerk has done a thorough investigation of John Barlow.
Are you 'himself', or one of the employees that Brock channels 'himself' through?
Given the rumors I'm hearing, the clerk should be running scared.
You'll have to do FAR more than this to discredit Barlow. The man is an open book.
I know you won't be able to understand this ... it will be a philosophy that eludes you ... but when you live a life that does NOT include keeping skeletons in the closet - there really is nothing to hide.
It's very liberating to live a life that is clean and respectful.
And that doesn't include tipping the bottle the minute one walks into the house.
It doesn't include late night and wee early morning drunken phone calls to employees.
If you want to open that closet door to look for non-existent skeletons, you best sweep out Brock's massive walk-in closet first.
Preparation is everything, n'est pas?????

beekeeper writes:

buffetfan google is easy to use. What rumors? And i am guessing you must be Gina Downs?....

lovemycat writes:

OMG.
Finally. A successful retired CEO is 1- paying attention to local government and 2- apparently ready to do something to improve it.
We all know there is an abundance of retired talent from corporate America living in Naples who could REALLY help government decision makers ... IF the decision makers are willing to listen.
I wish more of these executive types would step up. I know several have helped out local charities BIG TIME. But, I know very few who take "an interest in the workings of local government" as the article says about Barlow.
And yes, it will be interesting to see what unfolds in the records search. Wonder what made him decide to poke around?
I find it interesting that Brock tries to put up roadblocks when the PUBLIC pokes around. But, when it comes to poking around, Brock and Hiller seem to have a bottomless bucket of mud they sling around. It seldom sticks, so I guess their poking isn't very thorough.
I say GO BARLOW.
And, ALERT to all you other retired CEO's ... please think about stepping up to the plate.
Please......

lovemycat writes:

And another thing ...
jibbidy josh????
Really???????
Who SAYS that?
Brock takes this country hick thing too far.
I don't wany my highly paid so-called 'professionals' to be in the media saying things like 'jibbidy josh'.
That's what my six year old says when he can't use an appropriate word.
Where did this guy Brock get his degree from? Didn't he have to pass English?

TheyPavedParadise2 writes:

in response to buffettfan:

Hey beekeeper:

Here is what a search of Barlow will get you:

Barlow joined Safelite in 1991 as Chief Operating Officer and has served as the company's President & Chief Executive Officer since 1997. Under his leadership, the company implemented a number of initiatives designed to improve customer service, operational efficiency and employee retention. These include Safelite's nationally recognized Performance Pay Plan for installation technicians, service- and productivity-focused mobile auto glass operations and new technologies to support the company's growing claims management business.

"Under John's leadership, Safelite has become a premier claims management company and an innovative leader in the auto glass industry. He leaves with a strong leadership team in place, the company in sound financial condition, and a course set for growth," said George Haymaker, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Safelite Glass Corp.

Obviously Safelite has not gone bankrupt. It appears there was a restructuring under Barlow that brought them out stronger than ever.

Safelite's budget and employee count is larger than all of Collier County. Barlow could probably teach Brock something about streamlining his 'business' and providing excellent customer service. Barlow could probably do it in his sleep and do it hundreds of times better than Brock.

Best not to awaken a sleeping giant, Brock.
Tread lightly.

Obviously you don't do the research. In addition to getting into an ill advised housing rehab program in Collier that was a flop, anyone can see in Wiki that this company HAS been through a bankruptcy. It is also wholly owned and controlled by Belron. The company has over 10,000 employees but they are spread among multiple organizations. It seems like there is now an organized attack group aimed at Hiller and Henning. Why waste the time, they will be re-elected handily in their districts. Here is the info:

Safelite Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Belron, is an automotive glass and claims management company based in Columbus, Ohio. The company is composed of four major business operations that include automotive glass fulfillment services, operating under the trade names Auto Glass Specialists, Elite Auto Glass, Diamond Triumph Glass and Safelite AutoGlass; windshield manufacturing; and Safelite Solutions. Auto Glass Specialists operates in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Elite Auto Glass operates in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, Wyoming and Southern California. Safelite AutoGlass operates in all 50 states.

Prior to being purchased by Belron, Safelite had been owned by J.P. Morgan- A result of the company's 1997 bankruptcy filing.

Safelite also owns Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, Auto Glass Store, and Nationwide Auto Glass

Safelite Glass Corp. has a manufacturing and distribution facility in Enfield, NC. The manufacturing facility serves Auto Glass Specialists, Elite Auto Glass and Safelite AutoGlass and the customers of Belron US's wholesale operations, Service AutoGlass.

beekeeper writes:

FROM BLOOMBERG NEW JUNE 10, 200 [WHEN JOHN BARLOW WAS PRES AND CEO OF SAFELITE]http://www.deseretnews.com/article/76...
Safelite Glass files for bankruptcy after listing $591 million in debts
Bloomberg News
Published: Saturday, June 10 2000 12:00 a.m. MDT
Summary WILMINGTON, Delaware -- Safelite Glass Corp., a debt-ridden auto glass repairer that recently formed an alliance with Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack auto stores, filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors.
In papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware Friday, Safelite, based in Columbus, Ohio -- with 500 U.S. locations -- listed $559.2 million in assets and $591.4 million in debts.
WILMINGTON, Delaware -- Safelite Glass Corp., a debt-ridden auto glass repairer that recently formed an alliance with Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack auto stores, filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors.

In papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware Friday, Safelite, based in Columbus, Ohio -- with 500 U.S. locations -- listed $559.2 million in assets and $591.4 million in debts.A spokeswoman for closely held Safelite, Dee Uttermohlen, said the Chapter 11 filing was related to a debt-load from an acquisition three years ago--but added that the company has been renegotiating debt with creditors.

NOTE: The "acquisition three years ago" was one made when John Barlow was Pres. and co-CEO of Safelite.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 10, 1997 Safelite Glass Corp. and Vistar, Inc. announced today that they have agreed to merge.
http://www.glasslinks.com/newsinfo/sa...

"Barlow joined Safelite in 1991 and has served as chief executive officer since 1997."
http://www.usglassmag.com/AGRR/Backis...

"On or before July 1, 1997, Executive will be granted the title of President and Co-Chief Executive Officer."

http://www.techagreements.com/agreeme...

feduptoo writes:

Does ANYBODY ever just read an article and NOT go after the personal life of the people in the article?
When did we become a 'shoot the messenger at all costs' mentality?
I mean ... YAWN ... a clerk who ALLEGEDLY drinks after hours. A retired CEO who MAY have had a bankruptcy and reorganization in his working history.
Again ... YAWN. Hope you'll understand if I can't get excited about these 'sidebars'. These personal attacks don't add one iota to the 'real issues'.

The way I see it:
The county and the clerk are both following an ordinance about providing public documents to the public.
It seems Clerk is again taking interpretation of ordinances, statutes and laws to the extreme and using that interpretation in a punitive manner.

The big picture here is that the clerk is making it much more costly for a member of the public to access public information.

The other issue that hasn't been examined is that this man seemed to have made the same request to two ofices - The clerk and the BCC.
According to this article, he asked for "correspondence between the clerk's office and the office of County Commissioner Georgia Hiller:
Commissioners office provided 1300 copies of "correspondence between the clerk's office and the office of County Commissioner Georgia Hiller"
Clerk's office provided only 374 documents.
Either Hiller's office was throwing up a smokescreen to cloud the pertinent 374 documents - OR - the clerk's office grossly under reported the amount of correspondence by almost a thousand documents.

Seems like they should have essentially matched in number of correspondence, shouldn't they?

I can do a sort by name of my emails in a flash and tell you exactly how many went to each recipient. Shouldn't government officials do the same?

I'm fed up with going off-topic and turning every article into tabloid trash. Can we just discuss the importance of transparency and accountability for our elected officials?

TheyPavedParadise2 writes:

However, per the statute the clerk must cover the cost of the request. John wants to play now it seems. John needs to pay.
All of the other retired CEO's in Pelican Bay have chosen to work behind the scenes.
Feduptoo, I am fed up too. Can you imagine County Commissioners trying to stop an audit of their expenditures? How many taxpayer dollars were spent fighting a battle that statutorily they couldn't win?

TheLissack writes:

Given the quantity of anti barlow messages above I suspect there MUST be something really juicy to be revealed in the email transcripts.

So what have ms eight names and mr I like to sling mud been texting about?

napleschik writes:

Its all in the open. You don't have anything better to do, read them if you wish. Just request them electronically. Better yet, why not slip a whistleblower into his department? I hear it changes your life.

tru213 writes:

John Barlow was a supporter of Gina Downs who lost overwhelmingly in her bid for the District 2 Commissioner seat to Commissioner Hiller. Barlow and Downs, two ethically challenged characters, are now trying their best to unseat Commissioner Henning, and keep Commissioners Coletta and Fiala in place.

Barlow's requests for thousands of public records from Commissioner Hiller and the Clerk of Courts are shamefully frivolous acts which take up many hours of valuable staff time. Barlow should be charged the maximum fee by the County for using these unsavory election tactics.

Barlow has been involved in local government for a long time. He has not just recently taken an interest in the workings of local government as Brett Batten indicated. He and Downs have been on several County advisory committees for many years. They have contributed to the problems in Collier government. Now they want to maintain the status quo by keeping the Gang of Three (Coyle, Coletta, and Fiala) in place.

Barlow and Downs have really crossed the line by intentionally requesting thousands of public records from Commissioner Hiller, and the Clerk during election season. Mis-using staff time is tantamount to wasting taxpayers' money which could be better used to serve all Collier citizens. If Barlow and Downs were truly concerned about improving local government, they would be requesting the voting records and financial disclosures of all County commissioners and share them with the public. Why do they only request the public records of Commissioners Hiller, Henning, and the Clerk? This looks very much like a witch hunt.

Do we really believe that Brett Batten does not see what is happening?

intense writes:

Local elections are won or lost in the primary. The general election is moot.

As I recall, Hiller won the primary with 48%. That means 52% wanted somebody other than Hiller.

And that was back before they realized that Hiller is the modern day Medusa.

Other than the cowboys in Golden Gate and a handful of government haters/conspiracy theorists in Pelican Bay, does 8 names job-killer Hiller have much of a following ... at least among the sane?

And by the way, public records requests are just a way of life for ALL those involved with government.

Ask Tony Pires about harrassment audits. He generally does them on behalf of Hiller but would probably go to the highest bidder.

Pastalover writes:

tru213 writes: Mis-using staff time is tantamount to wasting taxpayers' money which could be better used to serve all Collier citizens.

Hark!!!
Isn't that what Hiller was doing and was admonished for it? That was when she announced "I don't need YOU, I don't need YOU, and I don't need YOU!" Claimed she wouldn't bother with staff meetings anymore because they didn't help her in any way.

She took her toys and moved her office to Orange Blossum. Now when she deigns to summon staff, instead of meeting with all commissioners at the complex, they have to travel up to Orange Blossum so her highness can hold court out of view of any other elected official.

Misuse of staff time? Come on, you must be able to do better than that. What else 'ya got?

beekeeper writes:

Intense, i hadnt heard about harassment audits by Tony Pires. Which ones?

napleschik writes:

in response to intense:

Local elections are won or lost in the primary. The general election is moot.

As I recall, Hiller won the primary with 48%. That means 52% wanted somebody other than Hiller.

And that was back before they realized that Hiller is the modern day Medusa.

Other than the cowboys in Golden Gate and a handful of government haters/conspiracy theorists in Pelican Bay, does 8 names job-killer Hiller have much of a following ... at least among the sane?

And by the way, public records requests are just a way of life for ALL those involved with government.

Ask Tony Pires about harrassment audits. He generally does them on behalf of Hiller but would probably go to the highest bidder.

Actually it was 49% and the closest challenger was 26% and that was Gina Downs.
Now if your rationale is correct and it usually isn't Hiller got 4556 votes in the primary of 9291 votes. In the main election she got 20,773 votes or 96.67%. Those people you said didn't want her actually brought their neighbors with them when they came back to vote for her. As a cowgirl in Golden Gate Estates, She has been more help to us than our Commissioner has. He hasn't even attended our last two GGEACA meetings, but Hiller and Henning have.
I'm sure the numbers for Hiller in 2014 will be much the same. 97 percent is pretty darn good.

napleschik writes:

in response to Pastalover:

tru213 writes: Mis-using staff time is tantamount to wasting taxpayers' money which could be better used to serve all Collier citizens.

Hark!!!
Isn't that what Hiller was doing and was admonished for it? That was when she announced "I don't need YOU, I don't need YOU, and I don't need YOU!" Claimed she wouldn't bother with staff meetings anymore because they didn't help her in any way.

She took her toys and moved her office to Orange Blossum. Now when she deigns to summon staff, instead of meeting with all commissioners at the complex, they have to travel up to Orange Blossum so her highness can hold court out of view of any other elected official.

Misuse of staff time? Come on, you must be able to do better than that. What else 'ya got?

Hark, I hear that 4 of the Commissioners have an office in their district.
How much does it cost when staff has to go to Marco for Fiala, or to Immokalee for Coletta, oh wait Henning closed his to avoid waste. What is the difference in mileage from the government center? 7.44 miles to Hiller, 14.39 miles to Fiala, and 40.6 miles to Coletta. C'mon is that all you got?

tru213 writes:

In response to "intense" & "Pastalover":

Please stop confusing the issues and misleading the public.

The intention of public record request is to ensure transparency and to deter corruption in government. Barlow and Downs are perverting this well intended law. They are wasting staff time for self serving purposes; not to ensure transparency and deter corruption.

Commissioner Hiller did not misuse staff time as the Gang of Three and County staff accuse her of doing. As commissioner, it is her right and duty to request from staff as much information as needed to make informed decisions on the public's behalf. The "Gang of Three", County staff, and all those who have been feeding from the public trough for so long by disregarding rules and regulations do not want their unethical practices disrupted or want the public to know. That's the reason they accuse Commissioner Hiller of misusing staff time.

Since County staff were not providing the necessary information requested by Commissioner Hiller, she couldn't have wasted that much staff time.

As for Commissioner Hiller setting up a Satellite Office in North Naples, Commissioner Fiala has a Satellite Office in Marco Island, and Commissioner Coletta has one in Immokalee. Commissioner Hiller spends as much time as all the other commissioners if not more at the Government Center.

Pastalover writes:

tru213 and napleschick drank the Kool Aid.
Time for a reality check.

intense writes:

Are you finished yet napleschik/Hiller?

Shouldn't you be reading your agenda for Tuesday or will you let Brock and Kinzel do it for you and supply you with appropriate questions?

beekeeper writes:

Intense, i hadnt heard about harassment audits by Tony Pires. Which ones? The silence is deafening..

napleschik writes:

in response to tru213:

In response to "intense" & "Pastalover":

Please stop confusing the issues and misleading the public.

The intention of public record request is to ensure transparency and to deter corruption in government. Barlow and Downs are perverting this well intended law. They are wasting staff time for self serving purposes; not to ensure transparency and deter corruption.

Commissioner Hiller did not misuse staff time as the Gang of Three and County staff accuse her of doing. As commissioner, it is her right and duty to request from staff as much information as needed to make informed decisions on the public's behalf. The "Gang of Three", County staff, and all those who have been feeding from the public trough for so long by disregarding rules and regulations do not want their unethical practices disrupted or want the public to know. That's the reason they accuse Commissioner Hiller of misusing staff time.

Since County staff were not providing the necessary information requested by Commissioner Hiller, she couldn't have wasted that much staff time.

As for Commissioner Hiller setting up a Satellite Office in North Naples, Commissioner Fiala has a Satellite Office in Marco Island, and Commissioner Coletta has one in Immokalee. Commissioner Hiller spends as much time as all the other commissioners if not more at the Government Center.

Good post

napleschik writes:

in response to beekeeper:

Intense, i hadnt heard about harassment audits by Tony Pires. Which ones? The silence is deafening..

That's because there isn't any such thing. Why don't you ask him to give details? All audits performed for Collier County have purchase orders attached and are easily tracked.

napleschik writes:

in response to intense:

Are you finished yet napleschik/Hiller?

Shouldn't you be reading your agenda for Tuesday or will you let Brock and Kinzel do it for you and supply you with appropriate questions?

Thanks for the kind comparison, but I live in District 5 off Everglades Blvd. Just finished supper and cleaned up.
Good luck young man.

StatenIslandJudy writes:

Sorry, but I don't see why the person making the request should be of any concern. What he wants to do with the information is immaterial...he has a right to obtain it.

The dramatic difference in cost between the County and the Clerk is important because it highlights process issues within the Clerk's office which (1) incur cost to taxpayers and (2) impact on all other aspects of the Clerk/Commission relationship.

The fact that Crystal Kinzel feels she is the ONLY person in the Clerk's office who has the authority to approve anything is the cause of both the extra cost to this taxpayer and the cause of delays, extra work and extra cost in every interaction between the Clerk and the Commission staff. Every taxpayer in Collier County shares that burden; they just don't know it.

It is DISGRACEFUL that Brock should pass on the cost of this woman's obsessive-compulsive nature to any taxpayer

Voters are right to question the relationship between the Clerk's office and Commissioner Hiller. The Clerk's role is designed to be an independent auditor of the BCC. If Hiller's allegiance is to the Clerk, where is the independence?

The Clerk has pre-audit over all expenses. The Board knows little of what transpires on a daily basis. The fight over post-audit had to do with Crystal Kinzel's self-appointed status as the sole interpreter of all things government. BCC staff, and the taxpayer, have a right to expect the business of government to be as efficient as possible. This simple request for documents shows how the Clerk through Kinzel can delay and or discourage normal business requests by adding additional work, delay and yes, much, much, much more cost. If this is the added cost for Kinzel's time in a minor records request, one has to wonder how much cost she unnecessarily adds to procuring services and paying bills, the two activities where she primarily meddles.

TheyPavedParadise2 writes:

in response to StatenIslandJudy:

Sorry, but I don't see why the person making the request should be of any concern. What he wants to do with the information is immaterial...he has a right to obtain it.

The dramatic difference in cost between the County and the Clerk is important because it highlights process issues within the Clerk's office which (1) incur cost to taxpayers and (2) impact on all other aspects of the Clerk/Commission relationship.

The fact that Crystal Kinzel feels she is the ONLY person in the Clerk's office who has the authority to approve anything is the cause of both the extra cost to this taxpayer and the cause of delays, extra work and extra cost in every interaction between the Clerk and the Commission staff. Every taxpayer in Collier County shares that burden; they just don't know it.

It is DISGRACEFUL that Brock should pass on the cost of this woman's obsessive-compulsive nature to any taxpayer

Voters are right to question the relationship between the Clerk's office and Commissioner Hiller. The Clerk's role is designed to be an independent auditor of the BCC. If Hiller's allegiance is to the Clerk, where is the independence?

The Clerk has pre-audit over all expenses. The Board knows little of what transpires on a daily basis. The fight over post-audit had to do with Crystal Kinzel's self-appointed status as the sole interpreter of all things government. BCC staff, and the taxpayer, have a right to expect the business of government to be as efficient as possible. This simple request for documents shows how the Clerk through Kinzel can delay and or discourage normal business requests by adding additional work, delay and yes, much, much, much more cost. If this is the added cost for Kinzel's time in a minor records request, one has to wonder how much cost she unnecessarily adds to procuring services and paying bills, the two activities where she primarily meddles.

DISGRACEFUL! LOL
All of the costs for public information requests are on a price schedule. Simply put so you can understand, everyone gets the same deal. The Clerk is audited too. You are right about a few things, people are entitled to public information that has been deemed public domain. Second, the Board knows little about what happens on a daily basis. Third, any unnecessary interaction between the Clerk and the BCC costs the taxpayers. Like the litigation to keep the Clerk from finding out about things like bad management practices of the County Manager and the BCC. I'm sure you read about this recently. The Clerk is batting a high average so far with plenty more trips to the plate upcoming.
Again, simply put for you the Clerk is a constitutional officer and he has a budget. His job is to make sure things are done according to statute. There has never been a claim filed against him with regard to the expediency of records produced. FYI, there is a statute for that too.
The disgruntled former employees of the County are out in numbers tonight. Or maybe some about to be part of downsizing and outsourcing.
Sad that you are so bitter.

StatenIslandJudy writes:

To TheyPavedParadise2. Nice that you have so much faith in Brock & company. His supporters on these blogs always seem to gloss over the fact that the Clerk already has not only the right but the obligation to pre-audit the expenses and financial practices of the BCC. On a daily basis, they choose NOT to do the hard work. They'd rather wait for their "gotcha" moments which are usually delivered to them by the incompetent BCC managers you mention. Have they ever produced any written procedures or guidelines of their own? I recall Coyle asking Kinzel for them from the dais sometime last year, to which she sweetly responded that she'd be delighted to provide, but I've never heard of anything being produced.

Neither organization would win any awards for best practices, but I do wonder why the Clerk is never held accountable for processes that go on for years (i.e., payroll miscalculations) without notice. What exactly are they auditing? Isn't that a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has departed and wanting a medal for discovering the horse is gone? It would seem to me that there is sufficient bad management to go around.

Brock & his supporters turn to litigation results as a badge of honor when in fact, it is a disgrace that his management style is such that litigation is his "go to" management style.

And as to the cost of records being prescribed, you make my point. As a previous comment noted, there is absolutely no reason why a routine records request needs to be handled by Brock's most expensive employee.

To characterize every person who does not see Brock as the savior of Collier County as a "disgruntled former employee" is what's sad. Apparently taxpayers in Collier County can only have an opinion if it agrees with those that support the Clerk.

common_tator writes:

in response to napleschik:

Actually it was 49% and the closest challenger was 26% and that was Gina Downs.
Now if your rationale is correct and it usually isn't Hiller got 4556 votes in the primary of 9291 votes. In the main election she got 20,773 votes or 96.67%. Those people you said didn't want her actually brought their neighbors with them when they came back to vote for her. As a cowgirl in Golden Gate Estates, She has been more help to us than our Commissioner has. He hasn't even attended our last two GGEACA meetings, but Hiller and Henning have.
I'm sure the numbers for Hiller in 2014 will be much the same. 97 percent is pretty darn good.

is that why you are running for rep?

TheyPavedParadise2 writes:

in response to StatenIslandJudy:

To TheyPavedParadise2. Nice that you have so much faith in Brock & company. His supporters on these blogs always seem to gloss over the fact that the Clerk already has not only the right but the obligation to pre-audit the expenses and financial practices of the BCC. On a daily basis, they choose NOT to do the hard work. They'd rather wait for their "gotcha" moments which are usually delivered to them by the incompetent BCC managers you mention. Have they ever produced any written procedures or guidelines of their own? I recall Coyle asking Kinzel for them from the dais sometime last year, to which she sweetly responded that she'd be delighted to provide, but I've never heard of anything being produced.

Neither organization would win any awards for best practices, but I do wonder why the Clerk is never held accountable for processes that go on for years (i.e., payroll miscalculations) without notice. What exactly are they auditing? Isn't that a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has departed and wanting a medal for discovering the horse is gone? It would seem to me that there is sufficient bad management to go around.

Brock & his supporters turn to litigation results as a badge of honor when in fact, it is a disgrace that his management style is such that litigation is his "go to" management style.

And as to the cost of records being prescribed, you make my point. As a previous comment noted, there is absolutely no reason why a routine records request needs to be handled by Brock's most expensive employee.

To characterize every person who does not see Brock as the savior of Collier County as a "disgruntled former employee" is what's sad. Apparently taxpayers in Collier County can only have an opinion if it agrees with those that support the Clerk.

Unfortunately or fortunately he is an elected constitutional officer and a trustee of the taxpayers.
If you have valid documented information regarding fraud or malfeasance by all means produce it and the State will look at it.
Making wild claims and using innuendos and 3rd party information isn't going to get it.
Maybe you should study the interrelationship between the departments and how they are organized. You state that the Clerk has to pre-audit the expenses and financial practices of the BCC. You totally missed the point. Should we have paid millions of dollars in legal fees and attorneys? The BCC is a moving target and there are years of unaudited documents and programs yet to be looked at.
You also speak of management style. The clerks duties are pretty narrowly defined by statute. Why is it that he is widely respected by the other Clerks in Florida? Are they bad too?

"To characterize every person who does not see Brock as the savior of Collier County as a "disgruntled former employee" is what's sad. Apparently taxpayers in Collier County can only have an opinion if it agrees with those that support the Clerk."

If you can do a better job, step up to the plate. Better yet, why not send your concerns and suggestions to the Clerks Office?

tru213 writes:

StatenIslandJudy misses the point when she states that the Clerk should do a thorough pre-audit and not wait for "gotcha" moments. The County staff and BCC are supposed to conduct business according to all existing guidelines, rules, regulations and laws. It is primarily the staff's responsibility to know what these are, and abide by them when awarding and approving contracts. It is incumbent upon the sizable legal staff and all County staff to perform their duties diligently and ethically.

Why should the Clerk's Office spend its time investigating details of a proposed business transaction in a pre-audit? Instead of complaining about the clerk, why don't you criticize the incomptent bloated county staff?

esprit writes:

StatenIslandJudy: go mind your own business in NY you wannabe know-it-all ...

TheyPavedParadise2 writes:

in response to tru213:

StatenIslandJudy misses the point when she states that the Clerk should do a thorough pre-audit and not wait for "gotcha" moments. The County staff and BCC are supposed to conduct business according to all existing guidelines, rules, regulations and laws. It is primarily the staff's responsibility to know what these are, and abide by them when awarding and approving contracts. It is incumbent upon the sizable legal staff and all County staff to perform their duties diligently and ethically.

Why should the Clerk's Office spend its time investigating details of a proposed business transaction in a pre-audit? Instead of complaining about the clerk, why don't you criticize the incomptent bloated county staff?

Very good!

hope4us writes:

in response to TheyPavedParadise2:

Obviously you don't do the research. In addition to getting into an ill advised housing rehab program in Collier that was a flop, anyone can see in Wiki that this company HAS been through a bankruptcy. It is also wholly owned and controlled by Belron. The company has over 10,000 employees but they are spread among multiple organizations. It seems like there is now an organized attack group aimed at Hiller and Henning. Why waste the time, they will be re-elected handily in their districts. Here is the info:

Safelite Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Belron, is an automotive glass and claims management company based in Columbus, Ohio. The company is composed of four major business operations that include automotive glass fulfillment services, operating under the trade names Auto Glass Specialists, Elite Auto Glass, Diamond Triumph Glass and Safelite AutoGlass; windshield manufacturing; and Safelite Solutions. Auto Glass Specialists operates in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Elite Auto Glass operates in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, Wyoming and Southern California. Safelite AutoGlass operates in all 50 states.

Prior to being purchased by Belron, Safelite had been owned by J.P. Morgan- A result of the company's 1997 bankruptcy filing.

Safelite also owns Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, Auto Glass Store, and Nationwide Auto Glass

Safelite Glass Corp. has a manufacturing and distribution facility in Enfield, NC. The manufacturing facility serves Auto Glass Specialists, Elite Auto Glass and Safelite AutoGlass and the customers of Belron US's wholesale operations, Service AutoGlass.

Obviously, you have not done your research. In the case of the housing rehabilitation program that John led (a private sector not for profit called Home, Inc.) IT WAS A SUCCESS. All homes were rehabed and a homeowner was found that fit the income qualifications. Every one of those homes rehab budgets came in under or at budget, with meticulous recordkeeping AND imagine this one - neighborhood stabilization as EVERY single one of those new homeowners are still in their homes and paying their mortgage. Surely when you say "failed" - you may be speaking of the rehab business that the COUNTY (with clerk oversight) was managing or appropriately not managing--then proceeded to go on a witch hunt for those that can do it right.

Now, let's stick with the commentary - Clerk office charges X and County Managers office charges Y with a big difference in terms of information provided and the ultimate cost. Suggestion would be that both parties get on the same page. Any information housed with our government IS the taxpayers information and we each have a right to make an inquiry as to serve the communities interest. A reasonable fee charged would be appropriate OR to another writers point - shouldn't all of this information be accessible via the clerk and BCC's records search (via the internet)?

TheyPavedParadise2 writes:

in response to hope4us:

Obviously, you have not done your research. In the case of the housing rehabilitation program that John led (a private sector not for profit called Home, Inc.) IT WAS A SUCCESS. All homes were rehabed and a homeowner was found that fit the income qualifications. Every one of those homes rehab budgets came in under or at budget, with meticulous recordkeeping AND imagine this one - neighborhood stabilization as EVERY single one of those new homeowners are still in their homes and paying their mortgage. Surely when you say "failed" - you may be speaking of the rehab business that the COUNTY (with clerk oversight) was managing or appropriately not managing--then proceeded to go on a witch hunt for those that can do it right.

Now, let's stick with the commentary - Clerk office charges X and County Managers office charges Y with a big difference in terms of information provided and the ultimate cost. Suggestion would be that both parties get on the same page. Any information housed with our government IS the taxpayers information and we each have a right to make an inquiry as to serve the communities interest. A reasonable fee charged would be appropriate OR to another writers point - shouldn't all of this information be accessible via the clerk and BCC's records search (via the internet)?

Ok, Where is HOME today? Is it continuing? How many HOMES are in rehab today? If I am not mistaken the program is now closed.
BTW, the County rehab business was shut down by an audit of the Clerk. He was not managing it. What you call a witch hunt I call doing what we elected him to do. The County Manager failed to properly oversee this program.
The commentary, for you to suggest that the Clerk somehow give in, negotiate or not do his job according to statute is absurd.
As far as public information requests, they do cost money to research and produce. You can get e-mails for no charge via a public info request. Be prepared to wait a reasonable time.
Barlow is a good guy, just misled IMHO.

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