DVD vs Thumb Drive

It is at times an exhausting endeavor to request and receive public records request (PRR) from the city of West Palm Beach. The leaders continue to make it as difficult, and now as expensive, as possible to receive documentation. 1 example.

First Amendment Foundation letter to Jeff Green, City Administrator and Elliot Cohen, Director of TV 18. This letter is in reference to a complaint filed by a city resident who’s PRR went unanswered and ignored by the city. Please read the response below.
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10/24/14 A PRR was placed with the City Clerk for the last three invoices for the purchase of DVD and Thumb Drive purchased by the city.

Here is the results of that request.

12/9/2009: 200 DVD purchased at a cost of $87.96 or $.4398 ea. (Office Depot)
6/11/2013: 400 DVD purchased at a cost of $395.58 or $.98895 ea. (VSA Inc.)
1/6/2014: 300 DVD purchased at a cost of $105.72 or $.3524 ea. (B&H)
The three invoices average out to $.65 ea.for the DVD

The city provided one invoice for a Thumb Drive.
11/ 2014 Purchased 5 at a cost of $49.95 or $9.99 ea.
Coupon for $20.00 discount for a cost of $5.99 ea.

Elliot Cohen at a public meeting when asked about the decision to change from DVD to Thumb Drives told the mayor and commissioners it was less expensive. Really?

When a complaint is filed with the OIG or the PBC COE their office request a copy of the city meeting when the residents has concerns of improper management.

The resident filing the complaint request a copy of the meeting and provides the DVD with all pertinent documentation to be investigated. The WPB DVD is imprinted with the city logo and includes the date, time, and type of meeting. Both agencies request DVD with the city logo imprinted on it.

Residents could request a copy of any meeting and it was made available within two day’s, and residents were not charged for the copy of the meeting due to the inexpensive cost of the DVD. There is no labor charge for a meeting to be copied.

Here is an e-mail sent to the City Clerk on March 19,2015. Over 5 weeks have passed with no response from the city.
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected]
Date: 03/19/2015 09:02 AM
Subject: Copies of CD
Good morning Ms. Cobb,

Debbie Finnie filed a complaint with The First Amendment Foundation, and you can view the letter she received from them below.

Previously when complaints were filled with the PBC Commission on Ethics or the Office of the Inspector General both agencies required copies of WPB CD to have it’s logo printed on the CD. (We could not make copies and present them to either agencies)

With that said could you please give me the procedure for requesting copies of meetings on CD.

Please confirm e-mail received


Sandy Matkivich

New Tab

Subject: Re: Copies of CD
Date: 3/27/2015 10:02:48 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]

Sent from the Internet (Details)
Good morning Sandy,

I wanted to follow up on your request. I emailed the City Attorney and asked for direction when your email was initially received. I followed up on Wednesday, March 25th, and am waiting for a response. I apologize for the delay and will let you know as soon as I receive a reply.

Thank you,
Venice P. Cobb
Deputy City Clerk
City of West Palm Beach
401 Clematis Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone: 561-822-1206 Fax: 561-822-1214
Email: [email protected]

The City of West Palm Beach is governed by the Public Records Act as set forth in Chapter 119, Florida Statutes. E-mails are subject to the Public Records Act and are public records subject to disclosure. All e-mails sent and received are retained as public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in a response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.

It is now been five weeks with no response from the city. Why the clerk felt it necessary to forward my e-mail to the city attorney Kimberly L. Rothenburg and why she hasn’t responded would be a guess on my part. My guess would have to be the city doesn’t want the information known.

Mayor Muoio has placed on the agenda for city commission meeting for
4/27/15 Ms. Rothenburg name for appointment as City Attorney replacing former City Attorney Claudia McKenna. If you have followed city politics you are aware of McKenna’s leadership of the attorneys office. So many bad decisions coming from her office. Ms. Rothenburg
worked under the direction of Ms. McKenna. What do you think?