consultants are sandburs

Friday, January 09, 2015

Rhonda in the crosshairs. But whose crosshairs is the interesting point.

The Anoka County Board has multiple members, with Sivarajah being its most noted member, as its head and as one craving higher office. But there are others and there might always be coup planning that never meets with the public's radar.

Or not.

In any event, Harold Hamilton's henchman has on his Anoka County Record blog published an attack on Sivarajah that curiously only mentions her; not her henchpersons. Here's the thing, by screen capture - click to enlarge and read:

Grab a hold on that closer, "County board chair Rhonda Sivarajah was e-mailed and asked to comment on this issue. As of the date of this publication, she has not responded." With the board having members beyond Chairperson Sivarajah, one would expect an ostensible reporter/editorialist to reach further, were getting an explanation of collective practices an actual goal.

The Jan 9 installment of the chairman's friends' thing is due out on the web today, so let's see if there is follow-up stuff. Also, who is the chairman's most favored County Board member - something requiring speculation between the lines because the chairman has not publicly published an express preference among his favorites (aka Republicans) on the Board.

The chairman does not like tax increases, nor Limburger cheese, and the Board has voted one (a levy rate increase along with the Northstar tax exaction being hiked for 2015), but that stuff goes by Board majority vote, so what's up?

Is some purge or coup attempt afoot? If so, we now might only guess at possible perps. It's fun, guessing at what might unfold in the future, but it unfortunately is error-prone. In hopes of shedding light, as a Board Dist. 1 resident, I emailed the following follow-up inquiry to my district rep, Matt Look, and will publish the expected reply in its entirety, once it is received:

You have to like a prompt reply:

posted soon after item timestamp

Well gee, neither John K. nor I thought of a legal opinion. Perhaps Harold (and John K.) will contact Palumbo, or, better, post the Palumbo viewpoint on the website where the attack was posted. You never know ...

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Below is text of an email sent by County Attorney Tony Palumbo on December 23, 2014, to Bryan Olson, a person serving on behalf of the website publisher in ways and under terms with which I am unfamiliar. This text was made available in response to an email inquiry to Palumbo's office after receiving County Board Dist. 1 Commissioner Matt Look's email, as a most convenient way for that office to respond to my emailing:

I’m sorry it took me a couple days to respond to your previous email but I had to verify some things with county employees.

As to item #1 on the 12/16/14 Management Committee agenda, the only written information considered by the committee members was listed on the reverse side of the agenda and my understanding is that the agenda and the consent items were made available to the public before the meeting.

As to item #2, there was a single page given to the Committee members entitled “Economic Assistance Department Request Authority to Restructure and Fill a Vacant Position”. This page I’m told was also available for viewing by the public at the usual desk space in Room 710 outside the board room.

As to item #3, this was an administrative appeal by a license applicant concerning his license revocation. The Management Committee was considering the arguments on whether to sustain the denial of the appeal. You are correct that Minn. Stat. 13D.01, Subd. 6 (a), in part, requires materials relating to the agenda items of the meeting shall be available for public inspection while the governing body considers their subject matter. However, there is an exception. Minn. Stat. 13D.01, Subd. 6 (b) says that Subd. 6 (a) does not apply to materials classified by law as other than public, as defined by chapter 13 (Minnesota Government Data Practices Act).

As this was an administrative appeal, the classification of the data relating to the appeal is governed by Minn. Stat. 13.39, Civil Investigative data. Minn. Stat. 13.39, Subd. 1 defines a “pending civil legal action” to include administrative proceedings. Minn. Stat. 13.39, Subd. 2 states, in part, that data collected by a government entity as part of an active investigation undertaken for the commencement or defense of a pending civil legal action, or which are retained in anticipation of a pending civil legal action are either protected nonpublic data in the case of data not on individuals or confidential in the case of data on individuals. In either case, the County could not disclose the data until the appeal was completed. At that point, the data become inactive civil investigative data and is considered public.

In this case, the appeal was an administrative matter considered to be a pending civil legal action. Therefore, any data could not be disclosed until the matter was concluded, which happened when the County Board decided to deny the appeal. The material concerning the appeal was properly not disclosed prior to the action denying the appeal because it was nonpublic, or confidential. It is now considered public data and if you would like a copy of the materials of that administrative appeal, please contact Jerry Soma, County Administrator, and he will provide a copy to you.

As to item #4, Minn. Stat. 13D.01, Subd. 6 (a) requires materials relating to agenda items of the meeting be available to the public for inspection while the governing body considers their subject matter. As to item #4, the Management Committee was provided a copy of bid tabulations but the Committee did not consider it for approval. (My understanding is that you were given a copy of the bid tabulation after the meeting.) The matter will be considered by the County Board at their next meeting. If the matter is not considered by a government body, Minn. Stat. 13D.01 is not applicable.

I hope this addresses your concerns about Minn. Stat. 13D.01 violations.

Tony Palumbo

It is worth posting that text to supplement the record, but none of this fleshes out why only Sivarajah was targeted by Mr. John K. in his post at the Record website. Others who may care more than I do might want to contact John K. and/or Bryan Olson for clarification of that specific targeting question. I leave the thread here exactly as it stands.

For those interested, there is this email address for reaching John K.

Harold Hamilton has affirmatively emailed me in the past that he will not respond to any further email from me, and it is his thinking and not John K.'s that is of interest to me. That goes for almost all John K. puts on the web.

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