Monday, May 08, 2006

QUESTIONS ABOUT GRANT FUNDING for the DA's Office. Public Records Act Request

It took over a month to get information from Paul Gallegos. Information that legally should have been provided within 10 days.

When Paul Gallegos fired Gloria Albin Sheets, he said it was because he had "lost" a grant. When Nandor Vadas left the DA's office, Paul said it was because he had "lost" what sounded like the same grant.

Did he lose the grant? Did he lose two grants? Or was it the same grant? Had he lost the grant at all? Or is he still receiving the grant? And if he is, is he fulfilling the requirements of the grant?

Speaking on KINS/Talk Shop, Paul talked alot about grants - that using grants was to subsidize yourself, grants being the icing on the cake, he'd like to see more and more funding from the General Fund to reflect the community's commitment to the office, but that doesn't happen, which he blames on the Board of Supervisors... says when he came in the office was 60% grant funded, and that he has set about to "systematically wean" ourselves from that... "some we try to hold on to" says they are all so competitive... in other words he rambled around, but generally gave his new spin on why he lost the grants.

He says that the Domestic Violence/Victim Witness grant was held onto longer than they should have, "should've weaned ourselves long ago"... Speaking of the Victim Witness Advocates he had so callously thrown under the bus, they're "tough to come by," but said that "when they are grant funded you can't use them the way you want to.." said that Phil Crandall at HHS said he could "throw you something for a year... see what you can do..." and that "now we can use them as we need them..."

By his own account, his office is 60% funded by grants. It is incomprehensible to me that a department head would even consider "weaning" himself from 60% of his budget.

I have alot of friends who have applied for grants over the years, they faced a steep learning curve, but they learned the ins and outs of grant applications, and they were largely successful. Here, you have a man who took over a department that was SIXTY PERCENT FUNDED BY GRANTS, existing grants, grants the office had been receiving for 10 years, 12 years. It's not as if he HAD to go out and secure new sources of funding. But once your budget is cut at the County level, and once you have "lost" a grant, one would think you would go out looking for replacement money. Apply for new grants. Reapply for the ones you lost. Fix whatever you did wrong on your applications.

Any good department manager would fight for his people, fight to save his programs, work to ADD to what his office had. At the very least he should have worked to replace what he "lost."

It appears that he didn't do any of those things.

BUT - he DID spend an awful lot of time trying to come up with ways to fund his PL suit. Detailed elsewhere on this blog, he was given a plan of action by his campaign backers, Salzman's Plan (see read first on this blog), and he took that plan all the way to the Attorney General's office.

I wanted to know if he really lost the grant, I wanted to know how many grants he lost, if any.

So -

On April 3rd I filed a Public Records Act Request with Paul Gallegos' DA's Office.
By law, he had 10 days to give me the information I requested.

On April 14th, I was notified by his office that he was invoking his right to a 14 day extension, because the records I asked for were not readily available. "Due to the volume of records in your request and shortage of staff necessary to comply, we are invoking our right to an additional 14 days in which to respond to your request." This, even though the material I requested should be a simple matter of copying materials that were readily available in files, as they would have been prepared in order to apply for grants, and kept as records for the grantors. He failed to mention at that time that any of the records in question would be denied.

He failed to deliver those materials on April 28th.

On May 4th, I was notified by his office that part of what I asked for was available, but that he was withholding information on the Spousal Abuse grant and the Statutory Rape grant due to pending litigation. He claimed he had run it by County Counsel.

"The records do not contain documents from the Spousal Abuse Prosection Program or the Statutory Rape Vertical Prosecution Program. These documents are the subject of pending litigation and per advice of County Counsel and Government Code section 6254(b) we are not able to disclose at this time. We will be happy to provide them once the lawsuit has resolved. Please let us know if you wish them to be provided at that time."

Because the files I had requested were not prepared as a result of pending litigation, but rather for the granting agencies to which he was applying, he had no legal right to withhold any of the information I asked for. So, I asked again. This time I cc'd the Eureka Reporter.

On May 5th, Gallegos responded that he had turned it all over to County Counsel to decide.

County Counsel decided to give me all the information I asked for. All 1,664 pages.

My Public Records Act Request, and Gallegos' response is posted as the FIRST COMMENT on this post

1 comment:

  1. This is what I asked for, and his email:

    Ms. Rose:

    Thank you for your email. The documents we indicated were available remain available at the Office of County Counsel.

    We will also provide County Counsel with complete copies of the additional documents for their determination on whether disclosure is mandated. Naturally, on such matters, we rely on the advice of County Counsel.

    Sincerely,

    Paul V. Gallegos


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Rose
    Sent: Friday, May 05, 2006 11:04 AM
    To: Gallegos, Paul; Modell, Linda
    Cc: County Administrator Office; Falor, Tammy; Hendry, Richard; Keat, Wesley; Glenn Franco Simmons
    Subject: Fwd: RE: PUBLIC RECORD ACT REQUEST re GRANTS

    May 5, 2006

    To: Paul Gallegos
    Humboldt County District Attorney's Office
    825 Fifth St.
    Eureka, CA 95501

    Mr. Gallegos:

    According to the Government Code cited below, you cannot refuse to give me the information on all of the grants received by your office. That information has nothing to do with pending litigation, as grant information if prepared for the grantors, not for pending litigation. The pending litigation provision under section 6254(b) has no applicability to the domestic violence and statutory rape information. 

    You are already in violation of the public records act requirements, as this information should have been delivered to me by April 28th 2006.

    Failure to deliver the complete information requested by Monday, May 8th, 2006 at 10:00 am will result in litigation.

    Under the "pending litigation" exemption from the disclosure of public records Gov C 6254, subd. (b), a document is protected from disclosure only if it was specifically prepared for use in litigation.  City of Hemet v Superior Court (1995, 4th Dist) 37 Cal App 4th 1411, 44 Cal Rptr 2d 532

    "Pending litigation," which focuses on the purpose of the document, serves to protect documents created by a public entity for its own use in anticipation of litigation. Fairley v Superior Court (1998, 2nd Dist) 66 Cal App 4th 1414, 78 Cal Rptr 2d 648.

    A document is protected from disclosure under the pending litigation exemption only if the document was specifically prepared for use in litigation. County of Los Angeles v Superior Court (2000, 2nd Dist) 82 Cal App 4th 819, 98 Cal Rptr 2d 564.



    Rosemarie Welsh

    cc:
    "County Administrator Office"
    "Falor, Tammy"
    "Hendry, Richard"
    "Keat, Wesley"
    Glenn Franco Simmons
    ***


    Subject: RE: PUBLIC RECORD ACT REQUEST re GRANTS
    Date: Thu, 4 May 2006 16:51:39 -0700
    Thread-Topic: PUBLIC RECORD ACT REQUEST re GRANTS
    Thread-Index: AcZXPLHavF+EvJr+TniqxZeoZBJFsQBiVIEQBY7LugA=
    From: "Modell, Linda"
    To: Rose
    Cc: "County Administrator Office"
    "Falor, Tammy"
    "Hendry, Richard"
    "Gallegos, Paul"
    "Keat, Wesley"


    Ms. Welsh - The documents you have requested are available for you to pick up at the District Attorney's Office. There is a total of 1,454 pages @.25/pg totalling $363.50. Please make your check payable to the Humboldt County District Attorney - General Fund.

    The records do not contain documents from the Spousal Abuse Prosection Program or the Statutory Rape Vertical Prosecution Program. These documents are the subject of pending litigation and per advice of County Counsel and Government Code section 6254(b) we are not able to disclose at this time. We will be happy to provide them once the lawsuit has resolved. Please let us know if you wish them to be provided at that time.

    Two programs that the District Attorney is not the grantee of, and therefore we do not have complete information on, can be requested from the agencies that administer them. They are the Marijuana Suppression Program administered by the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and the NC3TF administered by the Marin County District Attorney's Office.


    -----Original Message-----

    From: Rose

    Sent: Monday, April 03, 2006 9:35 AM

    To: District Attorney

    Cc: County Administrator Office; Falor, Tammy

    Subject: PUBLIC RECORD ACT REQUEST re GRANTS


    April 3, 2006



    To: Paul Gallegos

    Humboldt County District Attorney's Office

    825 Fifth St.

    Eureka, CA 95501




    PUBLIC RECORD ACT REQUEST - TIME SENSITIVE


    Please provide me with the following records in your possession:



    REGARDING GRANTS RECEIVED BY THE D.A.'s OFFICE:



    Please provide the following records in your possession:



    Copies of all records regarding ALL GRANTS received by the District Attorney's Office for the years 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, including but not limited to:



    1.) The records regarding all grants in the areas of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and the breakdown of how those funds were ALLOCATED AND SPENT including but not limited to:


    a.) the TOTAL AMOUNT RECEIVED for each grant for each of the named years


    b.) the CONDITIONS upon which each grant was approved to be spent


    c.) the NAMES of each of the district attorney's office employees that were paid using money from these grants, in other words, which positions were funded, in part or in full by these grants


    d.) the amount ACTUALLY SPENT on each employee


    e.) the TOTAL BREAKDOWN of how each grant was actually spent and the name of the source, person or entity that received the funds




    2.) The records regarding ALL GRANTS received by the District Attorney's Office in the areas of CHILD ABUSE for the years 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, and the BREAKDOWN of how those funds were spent, including but not limited to:


    a.) the TOTAL AMOUNT RECEIVED for each individual grant for each of the named years,


    b.) the CONDITIONS upon which each grant was approved to be spent


    c.) the NAMES of each of the district attorney's office employees that were paid using money from these grants, in other words, which positions were funded, in part or in full by these grants


    d.) the amount ACTUALLY SPENT on each employee






    A. This is a request made under the California Public Records Act. [Government Code 6250-6277].


    B. By law you have 10 calendar days in which to respond to this request. [Government Code 6253(c)].


    C. The Public Records Act mandates that public records be open to inspection and that every person has a right to inspect any public record unless the record is specifically exempt from disclosure. Unless exempt, upon a request for a copy of records that "reasonably describes an identifiable record or records" you are required to make the records promptly available to any person upon payment of fees covering costs of duplication. [Government Code 6253].


    D. In the event that there is any uncertainty as to the identity of any record sought, you are affirmatively required to assist the requesting party in better defining the request so that the records can be located and made available. [Government Code 6253.1].


    E. You are required to justify in writing the withholding of any record. [Government Code 6253]. The burden of establishing an exemption is on the public agency. [Vallejos v. California Highway Patrol, 89 CA3d 781, 787 (1979)].


    F. The Public Records Act does not limit access to a public record based upon the purpose for which the record is being requested, if the record is otherwise subject to disclosure. [Government Code 6257.5].


    G. Agencies are not permitted to delay or obstruct the inspection or copying of public records. The notification of denial of any request for records shall set forth the names and titles or positions of each person responsible for the denial. [Government Code 6253(d)].

    H. If a reasonably segregable portion of a record is exempt by law from production, that portion shall be deleted and the balance of the record shall be provided for inspection. [Government Code 6253(a)].


    I. The legislative policy behind the Public Records Act favors disclosure. [Berkeley Police Assn. v. City of Berkeley, 76 CA3d 931, 941 (1977)].


    J. Any authorized fees will be paid to you on delivery, pursuant to an itemized invoice.





    Rosemarie Welsh


    CC:

    Loretta Nickolaus, CAO

    Tamara Falor, County Counsel

    ReplyDelete

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