Wednesday, October 26, 2016

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Indiana Public Access Counselor.

Welcome to another installment of SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.

But why all these newfangled words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, like the ones you're sure to hear when asking the city's corporate attorney why the answers to my FOIA/public records request for Bicentennial commission finances, due to be handed over on July 8, still haven't arrived on October 26?

Bicentennial commission financial trail? What's two (yawn) weeks (shrug) after 463 days?

October 26 update: Make that 16 weeks since the FOIA record request's due date and 560 days since I asked Bullet Bob Caesar to tell us how many coffee table books were left unsold, and how much the city's 200-year "summer of love" fest actually cost us. 

No, it's because a healthy vocabulary isn't about intimidation through erudition. Rather, it's about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one's pay grade or station in life.

Even these very same iniquitous, paving-bond-slush-engorged municipal corporate attorneys who customarily are handsomely remunerated to suppress information can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate what they knew and when they knew it, all we have left is plenty of time -- and the opportunity to learn something, if we're so inclined.

Consequently, today's word is a phrase: Indiana Public Access Counselor.

Mission Statement

The Public Access Counselor provides advice and assistance concerning Indiana's public access laws to members of the public and government officials and their employees.


A copy of my original request for information from the city of New Albany:

Roger A. Baylor
NA Confidential
1117 East Spring Street
New Albany, Indiana 47150

10 June 2016

Shane Gibson
Corporate Attorney
City of New Albany, Indiana
Hauss Square
New Albany, Indiana 47150

Dear Mr. Gibson:

Under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act § 5-14-3-1 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to obtain copies of public records that pertain to the financial dealings of the Bicentennial Commission, the creation and operation of which is detailed in New Albany’s code of ordinances (33.165; attached).

The period being requested encompasses the Bicentennial Commission’s inception through the present time.

Details should include all bids, contracts and expenditures for Bicentennial Commission activities, prime among them the process through with the Bicentennial book (“Historic New Albany, Indiana: By the River’s Edge,” by James Crutchfield) was contracted, published and sold, and the status of the Redevelopment Commission’s loan to make publication of this volume possible.

As part of this request, I am requesting to know the current status of inventory with regard to these books. If books remain unsold, how many remain, and where are they stored? Also, when a Bicentennial book is given away at a public ceremony, who paid for it? These invoices are to be considered part of this request.

As part of this request, I am further requesting copies of the official e-mail correspondence between Robert Caesar and other members of the Bicentennial Commission pertaining to these plans and transactions.

I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of what it cost to honor the city’s Bicentennial, and how these decisions were made, under the aegis of a free press (NA Confidential blog). My request is strictly for news gathering purposes and is not being sought for commercial purposes.

The Indiana Access to Public Records Act requires a response time within seven business days. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than seven days, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies of the requested records.

If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.

Thank you for considering my request.


Roger A. Baylor
1117 E. Spring St.
New Albany IN 47150

The city's corporate attorney has been informed of PAC's receipt of my complaint, and PAC promises a decision by December 5.

I'll keep you informed. Have they laundered all the paving stone books yet?

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