The Mayor’s Office will be calling the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. and asking officials at the agency to abide by the California Public Records Act when it comes to providing copies of Regina Patty’s legal bills, mayoral spokeswoman Rachel Laing just told me.

“The mayor strongly believes that they should be following the Public Records Act. Clearly, there’s some instances where they’re failing to follow the letter of the law,” Laing said. “The office will put a call in and ask them to comply with the Public Records Act.”

SEDC has continuously ignored requests to provide records that show how many hours its corporate counsel, Regina Petty, worked for the agency and how much she charges. A request for the records has been pending since Sept. 4.

I had high hopes for getting the information when SEDC named a new interim president, consultant Brian Trotier. He called me back on his first day in office, listened to my concerns, and promised to call Petty and get things straightened out.

But Trotier appears to now have chosen to join the list of people on the public payroll who refuse to answer questions about SEDC’s failure to provide the records.

Trotier hasn’t called me back since that first phone call. Last week, he told SEDC’s board that the agency had met the requirements of the California Public Records Act when it provided me with a sheaf of documents that did not include the number of hours Petty worked and the amount she charged the city agency.

The Public Records Act requires a public agency to explain why it’s not allowing the public to see information that it’s withholding. Here’s what the statute says:

6255.  (a) The agency shall justify withholding any record by demonstrating that the record in question is exempt under express provisions of this chapter or that on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.

(b) A response to a written request for inspection or copies of public records that includes a determination that the request is denied, in whole or in part, shall be in writing.

As I’ve pointed out, SEDC Spokesman Alexis Dixon told me last Thursday that I’d be getting a written explanation from the agency on this. I haven’t.

Nor has Trotier responded to numerous phone calls to his office and his cell phone, or a request by e-mail.


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