Still No Answers in the SERS/McDermott Frame Up

Yes I said frame up:

SERS Board members approved the purchase of the SnoCat (tractor) that they claimed they didn’t even know was purchased, which says a great deal about their inability to chair even a tea party let alone an emergency agency

All of Mr McDermott’s purchases were approved every month by the finance committee.

There was also an agreement between Board members  to keep the SnoCat on McDermott’s  property.

Mr McDermott had spectacular employee and peer reviews, every single agency that dealt with him that I have contacted had nothing but wonderful things to say about him.

He brought the agency into the 21st century along with many other agencies that rely on SERS.

That is the thing about record sharing I have a lot of documents related to Mr McDermott and SERS even though I have never made a request to the agency itself but I have been given records as well as the records I requested from other agencies.

Last week I did make a records request… That didn’t go well.

MY REQUEST

From: SnoCo Reporter [mailto:brandia@snocoreporter.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2016 17:52
To: SERS <contact@sers800.org>
Subject: Public Records Request

Under RCW 42.56 I would like to request the following

All email in PST (NOT MSG) format sent or received by Mark McDermott for as far back as the records are retained

All emails in PST (NOT MSG) format sent or received by Jon Wiswell for as far back as the records are retained

All Phone records for landline and cell phone used by Mr McDermott the past 3 yrs in PDF format

A copy of all accounting from SERS since it’s inception including audits referred to, in various news reports.

Brandia ~ Investigative Journalist

Snohomish County Reporter

Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has

THEIR RESPONSE

SNOHOMISH COUNTY EMERGENCY RADIO SYSTEM

14900 40th Ave. NE #102 Marysville, WA 98271

April 5, 2016

VIA EMAIL:   brandia@snocoreporter. com

Brandia Investigative Joumalist Snohomish  County Reporter

Re:       Public Records Request Received by SERS on March 31, 2016 Greetings:

This letter acknowledges receipt by the Snohomish County Emergency Radio System (“SERS”) of your email dated March 31, 2016 making a public records request for certain records you believe to be public records in the possession of SERS.

Under the Public Records Act, SERS has five business days to respond to your request. Please accept this letter as SERS’ official, initial response to your request. Because of the substantial breadth of the records you have requested, SERS will need additional time to determine which records you have requested SERS has in its possession and are non-exempt so that they may be made available to you. Because of the substantial breadth of your request, it is likely that SERS will have to provide the requested public records to you in installments. It is believed that SERS can provide an initial installment to you in fourteen days of the date of this letter.

With respect to your public records request, there are an initial clarification and an initial issue. With respect to the clarification, your final category is “all accounting from SERS since its inception including audits referred to, in various news reports.” SERS will provide the reports from the State Auditor’s Office but I would ask you to clarify what you mean by “all accounting from SERS since its inception”.

The issue that is raised by your public records request is that you have asked for emails in PST format. SERS cannot provide the emails in PST format because to do so would compromise the security of SERS information system. It would allow you and/or others information on the security of the public safety radio system and thereby make it vulnerable. That format would also give you and/or others access to attorney/client information, personnel  information  including social security numbers and the operational characteristics of other significant organizations that interface with SERS. Thus, SERS will provide the email public records in PDF format. If this is not acceptable to you, SERS will seek a judicial determination to confirm that PDF format is reasonable and acceptable. If you do not object by Monday, April 11, 2016 by email to me at my email address below or by letter to my attention at the SERS address, SERS will presume PDF format is acceptable to you and will not initiate a court proceeding to determine the format in which it may provide the requested emails. Ifyou object, we will seek a judicial decision on the format.

Unless you hear otherwise from the undersigned, I will contact you when the first installment is available and you can anticipate that contact to be within fourteen days.

Because your public records request seeks “all email” of both Mark McDermott and Jon Wiswell, I would invite you to meet with me and my staff to discuss search terms to narrow or otherwise making the public records review for SERS and yourselfless onerous. I am certain that within the scope of your request as currently drafted, you will receive a substantial number of useless emails. If we work together, we may be able to simplify your request and provide you more useful documents in a shorter timeframe. Please contact me if you would like to discuss this.

Very truly yours,

SNOHOMISH COUNTY EMERGENCY RADIO SYSTEM

Jon Wiswell wiz@sers800 .org

MY RESPONSE

I included two open government supporters into this email

Oh my goodness, I have to admit that is a first: So you have challenged me to a court date? You said you would go to court to get a court order to not have to release files? Have you not heard of the Public Records Act or O’Neil v Shoreline?All of your locations and towers are a matter of public record and anyone you do business is part of the public’s right to know.

Since you know full well that I run a small newspaper which is not advertiser supported I scarcely have the money to keep the paper up and running but I’d like to introduce you to 2 people who can explain the public records act to you.

In answer to your response I absolutely want the emails in PST format, not PDF, and it is not up to you to decide which emails I may or may not find merit in. If you are going to waste taxpayer money on fighting something that has already been decided by the courts please issue me a statement explaining who gave you authorization to do so and how much money you are going to spend in employee time, court costs and legal fees.

As far as the accounting I am requesting, numerous people representing SERS and the investigating agencies keep referring to an accounting that you were basing the investigation into Mark McDermott making definitive statements that he stole x amount of dollars for certain items. In a prior public records request from another agency we learned that it was agreed that Mr McDermott build a holding shed to keep the SnoCat at his property so it would be easier to access in an emergency, yet you claim “no one had any idea that a 30K vehicle had been purchased. As a taxpayer I want to know just how much of our money is floating around or being used for unknown purposes, as a journalist I want to know why your agency is lying about a dead man.

THEIR ATTORNEY’S RESPONSE

http://snocoreporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/letter-to-Snohomish-County-Reporter-00854468.pdf

MY RESPONSE TO THEIR ATTORNEY

On Apr 7, 2016, at 11:54 AM, “SnoCo Reporter” <brandia@snocoreporter.com<mailto:brandia@snocoreporter.com>> wrote:

Mr Cattle,
Snohomish County (Teri Lawrie) knows how to deliver the PST format and remove the emails that need to be redacted, they simply put those records in PDF format and include a redaction log. I’ve CC’d her in to this email as well.

I honestly wish I could be more precise with my records request but I received emails from a few other agencies that clearly show that McDermott had an agreement to keep a snocat at his house, it was a big discussion that went beyond SERS, yet Dilworth & Nehring expressly said “they had no idea the item had been bought” they also claimed that he bought a keypad for his door with stolen taxpayer money BUT there was a discussion about that as well, it said his wife had purchased it but that would be a useful tool if someone else had to come and get the equipment in an emergency so they wouldn’t have a key to his home. I will not contact his wife right now as I am sure she is grieving and if I bring her all of these emails it will probably just bring her more grief.

There was also a performance evaluation that was forwarded to another dept which had no reason to have it but it is apparent that Nerhing and Jensen were gunning for McDermott long before he was fired. I want the accounting that “supposedly” revealed all of this wrongdoing and an itemized statement of what monies they claim are missing, and of the items and receipts SERS is offering for proof. I will not accept any redactions on that since Dilworth and Nehring were running to all the newspapers and TV stations talking about it so it is a public record.

You are an attorney, an attorney for SERS from one of the most powerful law firms in this state so I’m sure you know the statements made by those two amount to slander: about a dead man who can’t defend himself. I was a forensic accountant so their public statements never made any sense to me and that is what made me go through my old files to find all these discrepancies. I would advise those two to make additional statements to the press saying their assertions were absolutely incorrect because it is possible that if Mr McDermott really did take his own life it was those statements that drove him to it, and they were lies. That is unforgivable and even though he can’t speak for himself I plan on speaking for him.

As you can see from the letterhead this is the law firm of Anderson Hunter, so if I end up getting charged with some other bizarre crime, you all know why.

They are also still threatening to go to court, to violate the PRA and get some Judge to sign off on it as well. I would love to see them go to court and have to explain to taxpayers why they are trying to violate the rights of a citizen and wasting taxpayer dollars.

The problem for them is that I have far more records then I have let on, so if they don’t give me the records that I know exist then violating O’Neil v Shoreline and wasting taxpayer money is just going to be the start.

Mr McDermott was making waves and someone was trying to make a scapegoat out of him for it. Once I get the records (if there isn’t a 10 yr court battle) then I will post those records with records that were  accidentally or on purpose sent out by a certain public records officer that was let go and brought back.

I never know when they send me the wrong records if they do it on purpose or just to make me upset. I get people’s health records, social security numbers, and even a few pictures no one should have. I just found a bunch of health records with SS#’s and personal info from an Everett Public Records Release where they gave me everything but what I asked for. In these cases, they may have put me off for a while but in this case they gave me most of the answers to quite a few questions. I know their apology better be as public as their slander and lies though.