Now Lamont’s e-mail sought
Just weeks after some of Mick Ireland’s electronic messages were made public, developer Larry Winnerman has also demanded copies of county Commissioner Leslie Lamont’s e-mail.
But Winnerman says he doesn’t know what he’ll find in Lamont’s messages. He said Wednesday he just wants to make them public by posting them on the Internet.
Ireland is now the subject of a recall campaign, spurred, say organizers, by his rude and abrasive manner, which is reflected in uncomplimentary e-mails regarding various citizens.
But Winnerman said he has no intention of expanding the recall to other commissioners. Nor is he planning to ask for electronic mail from the remaining three commissioners, he said.
The demand for e-mails extends to Lamont’s home computer, because she has been working at home on county business. Lamont’s husband, Lance Luckett, has objected to the search in a letter to the editor (it appears on page 9-A).
“I think these e-mail requests are mean-spirited and are nothing more than fishing expeditions to look for the tiniest bit of information which they can use against her,” Luckett wrote.
Luckett hints that this type of assault on elected officials could result in the public having less access to their government.
Winnerman said he asked for copies of the messages on computer disks, to make them easier to load onto a Web page, but county employees told him all he could get are paper copies.
“But my major complaint is they’re charging these large amounts of money,” he said. The county has told him the service will cost 50 cents per page, he said.
After Winnerman gets the messages, they must be scanned electronically to recreate a computer file. That process is easier than retyping, but still expensive.
“So I think they’re doing it specifically to make this process more difficult and more expensive,” Winnerman said.
The county is charging almost $3,000 to provide copies of all of Ireland’s e-mail. “That’s an outrageous amount to charge for public records,” Winnerman said. “The statute says `a reasonable price.’ “
Not knowing what the final charge will be, Winnerman said he gave the county a check for more than $2,800 for Lamont’s messages, basing the amount on the approximate charges for Ireland’s e-mail. County employees assured him they would return any balance, he said.
The initial request for Ireland’s e-mail was prompted by the county’s unexpected adoption of a moratorium on new subdivisions and construction of large homes. The action brought accusations that commissioners had decided on the move in advance, out of the public eye.
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