City of Tamarac Makes High Cost Barrier To Public Records Request

Photo by Tracy Olson.

This article has been updated since publication

By: Sharon Aron Baron

The mayor and commissioners in Tamarac regularly attends dinners, balls, galas and other events outside the city that they serve and the taxpayer is footing the bill. Several years ago, the Broward League of Cities suggested ending this practice, however, Tamarac isn’t listening and commission members are continuing to get tickets gratis with your money.

No real connection has been made on how attending fundraisers and formal dinners helps the constituents they serve. However, schmoozing with other elected officials and lobbyists does help their own future political aspirations.

Left: Tamarac Commissioners Julie Fishman and Michelle Gomez and Vice Mayor Debra Placko attend the AFL/CIO Labor Ball on the taxpayer’s dime.

I don’t believe the citizens of Tamarac have any problem if their representatives want to attend any event on their own dime. Actually, if they did pay it would show that they truly cared about the cause.  What I don’t understand is how they don’t feel guilty about using other people’s money to attend these events. 

I wanted to find out the exact figures this year, so I sent the city clerk a public records request to find the total cost to the taxpayers for events in 2017.  

A few days later I received a response.

To find the totals for these expenditures would take 28 hours and cost $724. 90. I don’t know how quickly most people work, but I’m figuring they must be checking their phones and eating while they’re pulling this information.  How can it possibly take one person over 3 full-time work days to find these expenditures – clearly a line item in accounting.  I’m no accountant, but in two minutes, I can pull what I spent on food alone for the past five years on Quickbooks.

Then again, maybe they don’t want you to know. This is what government does when someone requests an item that they typically don’t want to disclose. They make it so expensive for the consumer, that most will back off and will not request the information.   Even us.

But residents in Tamarac still have the right to know.

UPDATE:

A half hour after this was published I received an apology from the city clerk’s office that the request amount was in error:

I appreciate the note and the new updated amount, however, I hope it didn’t take this article to make them realize this.  I will pay for the records and will keep you posted.

 

 

About Sharon Aron Baron

avatar Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident's a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That's why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.

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